Tom Kim Handles Difficult Weather To Take 1-Shot Lead At French Open Golf

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — South Korean Tom Kim handled difficult weather conditions to card a 7-under 64 and take a one-shot first-round lead at the French Open on Thursday.

Englishman Matthew Southgate bogeyed the final hole to post a 65 along with countryman Richard Mansell, Spaniard Alfredo Garcia-Heredia and Swede Joakim Lagergren, although Lagergren did not have time to play the 18th hole.

The 21-year-old Kim, who tied for second place at this year’s British Open at Hoylake, had a relaxed approach to making his tournament debut.

“I didn’t really expect anything. It played really hard today with the rain. This course when it starts to rain and with the wind up, it’s not easy,” he said. “I just tried to play the round as stress-free as possible. I definitely did that today. I hit it really well, positioned myself well off the tee and definitely feeling good going into the next three days.”

He is currently in line for a qualification spot for the 2024 Paris Olympics, which will be held at the same golf course on the outskirts of the city.

“(The Olympics being here) is just a bonus,” he said. “Knowing the Olympics is going to be here next year, if I can qualify then it’s definitely good prep.”

Mansell was proud of the way he coped with tricky conditions that involved changing tees, with many players not starting their rounds on hole No. 1.

“I played brilliant today,” Mansell said. “It’s a tough golf course so I was thankful a couple of the tees were moved with the wind because it did not stop hosing down all day.”

Last year’s runner-up Rasmus Hojgaard was two shots back at 5 under with nine others at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines.

Defending champion Guido Migliozzi had a poor day and finished with a 1-over 72, including a double bogey on hole 13 of the weather-beaten Albatros course. The Italian followed up with two straight birdies to limit the damage.

Migliozzi won by one shot from Hojgaard last year after a stunning nine birdies saw him tie the course record with a 9-under 62 in the final round, clinching his third victory on the European Tour.

Hojgaard began with five birdies in the first 11 holes but managed none after that.