Hebert & Jacquelin Tame Magical Kenya Open Greens With Hot Putters

The superb French golfing good form continued with Benjamin Hebert and Raphael Jacquelin muscling their way to a respective first and a share of second on day one of the Magical Kenya Open in Nairobi.

And the French efforts come just four days after compatriot Antoine Raznar sensationally holed a 60-foot birdie putt at the final hole to win the CB Qatar Masters.

Herbert, who turned 34-years a month ago, is a six-time Challenge Tour winner as he seeks a maiden European Tour win with a sizzling opening 64 that included an eagle and six birdies on the Karen Country Club course.

Benjamin Hebert shows the way on day one of the Magical Kenya Open

“It was a fantastic day,” said Herbert. “I played very solid all day long. It’s been a long time since it has been like this. We managed the distance control, because it’s very hard here with the wind and altitude. We weren’t too aggressive and a holed some good putts also. It was a good day”. 

Jacquelin, 46, also produced a magical display with his putter in posting a six-under par 65 in bright but windy conditions.

The four-time European Tour winner commenced his round from the 10th tee and raced to five-under par after just nine holes before completing his inward nine in one-under thanks to two birdies including one at the last.

“I think the putter was really hot today, that was the key of my round,” said Jacquelin.

Raphael Jacquelin shoots a sizzling 65 to be among seven players sharing second place on day one of the Magical Kenya Open

“I’m really happy with the way I putted, I’ve been working on it quite a lot and it’s good when you feel it coming back. It paid off today. I managed to save some good pars. It’s a tricky course, so you have to be careful off the tee. It’s fun, it’s an old-style course, and it’s good for me, actually. 

“The greens are better on the back nine but they are rolling pretty good, especially this morning. Tomorrow afternoon they might not be so easy. Overall the course is great, it’s in good shape, so I can’t complain.”

The affable Jacquelin is this week contesting his 645th tournament since making his Tour debut in the 1995 Spanish Open.

And after missing the cut in the opening three Middle East events it was good to see him finish well last week in Doha.

“Qatar was my first cut in a long time as I haven’t played that great over the last two years,” he said.

“It’s good to be back, I feel a bit of confidence. If you putt, it’s a lot easier – that’s what I did last week and today. Let’s keep that going and have some fun – fun is the key, I haven’t had a lot of that over the last two years, so we’ll try and get that first.”

Just one stroke further back is Gregory Havret and Romain Langasque making it four French players inside the top-20, and among a very strong contingent of 15 French-born players.


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