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DP World Tour: Tom Vaillant leads Bahrain Championship by one stroke

France's Tom Vaillant carded a flawless 64 to claim a narrow lead after the opening round of the Bahrain Championship.

The world number 454, who secured his DP World Tour card via the Challenge Tour last season, fired eight birdies at Royal Golf Club to finish a shot ahead of South Africa's Zander Lombard and Switzerland's Joel Girrbach.

Pre-tournament favourite Rasmus Hojgaard eagled the ninth, his final hole, to card a five-under-par 67 matched by Scotland's Scott Jamieson and England's Marcus Armitage, who made a hole-in-one on the 12th.

"I just tried to hit as many greens as I could and just play solid the whole day and try to putt at a great speed and if I make some putts it's great," Vaillant, who has missed the cut in his first two starts this season, said.

"The greens can't be that fast because it's going to blow really hard tomorrow and over the weekend. They've tried to make the greens as good as possible but it's not easy. There's a hole in the grass and I'm just trying to get it in the hole.

"I'm fighting as hard as I can. I like it when the conditions are really tough. I just feel that my game is fit for that. I fight for every shot.

"Today doesn't matter. I just try to do everything great and we'll see where it puts me at the end of the week but obviously I'm working for that (a win) and I'm ready to face everything."

Hojgaard has finished 11th, 11th and second in his first three events in 2024, but revealed he was struggling with an illness during his 67.

"I'm very low on energy," he said. "I was trying to locate where the bathroom was on the course to make sure I was in reach.

"Sometimes you just have to deal with that and I did that very well today."

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