Swede Carlsson leads Nordea Masters
Stockholm, Sweden (Sports Network) - Sweden's Magnus A. Carlsson fired a seven-under 65 on Wednesday to take a two-stroke lead after one round of the Nordea Masters.
Carlsson carded five birdies in six holes at one point during his round on the Stadium Course at Stockholm's Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, and ended with the 65 only after stumbling to a bogey at the final hole.
He has never won on the European Tour, but was the runner-up at the Madeira Islands Open last month. Thanks to his productive first round, Carlsson's in good position to challenge for the title in his native country.
"To be on top of the leaderboard at a European Tour event, I can't be anything else other than very satisfied, especially on a tough course like this one here at Bro Hof," Carlsson said.
The event is being held Wednesday through Saturday to allow players an extra day for travel to California for the U.S. Open, the second major of the season.
Among those headed to the Olympic Club in San Francisco will be Peter Hanson, who tied for seventh at last year's U.S. Open. On Wednesday, the Swede carded a five-under 67 to share second place with Richard Bland, Matthew Baldwin and Ignacio Garrido.
"It was good, I was a bit nervous teeing off," Hanson said. "I haven't been too happy with my game lately, so it's nice to get off to a good start."
Carlsson got off to a good start, with birdies at one and three. But he flew up the leaderboard thanks to a big run he began at seven, where he rolled in the first of three consecutive birdies.
After a par at 10, he birdied 11 and 12 to move to minus-seven, then picked up another stroke at the par-five 15th. The 31-year-old birdied four of the five par fives on Wednesday.
He appeared as though he'd take a commanding advantage into the clubhouse, but couldn't save par at the last.
At that point, he was ahead by two, but Garrido made a late charge to threaten first place.
The Spaniard had birdied three holes in a row from the eighth to reach minus- four, then sank two more at 12 and 16. But he bogeyed 17 to fall back into the group at minus-five, and stayed there after a par at the last.
Hanson, who won this event in 2008, recorded three birdies and a bogey on his front nine. But he got into contention thanks to a four-hole stretch from the 12th, during which he made three birdie efforts.
Bland began at the 10th tee and endured an eventful start to his round. After bogeying his opening hole, he ran off two consecutive birdies before falling to a double-bogey at No. 13.
But he rolled in four birdies in a row from the 16th to reach three-under, and added two more at three and six.
"I had a bit of an up and down start but I kicked it into gear around the turn, which made the day, really," said Bland.
Baldwin, Bland's fellow Englishman, also started on the back nine. He kick- started his round with a birdie at 18, which he followed with birdies at one and two to get to four-under. He gained another stroke at the last to cap his day.
World No. 3 Lee Westwood shot a 68 and is part of an eight-man group tied for sixth at four-under.
NOTES: Defending champion Alexander Noren shot a two-over 74. He was also the defending champ of last week's Wales Open, but withdrew with a back injury...A Swede has won this event in three out of the last four years.
06/06 14:27:30 ET