20-year-old Kristoffer Reitan shares lead at ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth

Kristoffer Reitan Paul Kane/Getty Images

20-year-old Kristoffer Reitan shares lead at ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth

Euro Tour

20-year-old Kristoffer Reitan shares lead at ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth

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Norway isn’t known for producing great European Tour golfers. The Scandinavian country has yet to find a male rival to Suzann Pettersen.

Kristoffer Reitan may just be that golfer. At least until Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland turns professional.

The 20-year-old shares the lead in the $1.1 million ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth after an opening 7-under-par 65, the same score Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines returned.

England’s Richard McEvoy and Ben Campbell of New Zealand are one shot behind on 6-under.

Reitan only dropped one shot in the opening qualifying round for the Euro Tour’s innovative Super 6 event in Western Australia. All 156 competitors play two rounds before the field is cut to the top 65. The top 24 after round three qualify for a final round of six-hole match play contests.

The man to beat?

The Norwegian may be the man to beat since he’s got recent experience of qualifying round pressure: he came through all three stages of the European Tour Qualifying School last year to earn playing rights for this year’s Tour. He also qualified for the U.S. Open, but missed the cut.

Reitan, who only dropped one shot in is opening round, is playing just his seventh European Tour event, and fifth of the season. He’s made the cut in two of those starts, with a best place of T42 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

“I’m really happy with that round,” said Reitan, who is ranked 1,890th in the world. “Played some good golf tee to green and holed some putts as well.

“Throughout the last year I qualified for the U.S. Open and qualified for the European Tour through Q-School, so it’s something maybe with the qualifying mind-set that I enjoy. I hope that can work to my advantage this week.

“I’m enjoying it (my rookie season). I’m just trying to learn every week. Even if I play really bad I’m trying to learn something, and if I play well, it might be because I’ve learned something. So, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from every tournament and try to unlock my best golf.”

Seven straight birdies to start

Tabuena started on the 10th tee and made eight birdies in his opening nine holes and then added one more on No. 1 after making the turn.

He did it by trying not to think too much about his game or his swing. It didn’t last: the 24-year-old dropped two shots on his last five holes.

“Actually, nothing much (was going through my head),” he admitted. “I tried to keep it in the back of my head, but it caught up to me on the third and fourth hole. I started to force some stuff, which I shouldn’t have, and it cost me.’

McEvoy won last year’s Porsche European Open while playing with Bryson DeChambeau in the final round. It was the 39-year-old Englishman’s first European Tour victory after 285 starts and 12 trips to the European Tour Qualifying School.

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