India’s Shubhankar Sharma got off to a great start with birdies on the first two holes but could not maintain the tempo and slid to tied 110th place in the 2020 English Championship in Hertfordshire on Thursday.
At the Honbury Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club course, Sharma slipped to even par 71 to lie way down on the first day of the tournament, needing a really low second round to make the cut.
Last week in his first appearance in the UK Swing, Sharma missed the cut at Hero Open in Birmingham.
As many as seven players, three of whom had completed their round, shot seven-under 64 to share the lead.
The group included Australian Jason Scrivener, who played in the same group as Sharma and Gavin Green (69). Lee Min Woo, also of Australia, and Zimbabwean Scott Vincent, who plays a lot on Asian Tour also shot 64 each.
Also at seven-under but with some holes to play were Nicolas Colsaerts, Brandon Stone, Thomas Detry and Laurie Canter.
No less than 11 players, eight of whom had completed their rounds, carded 65 each.
Last week’s winner at Hero Open Sam Horsfield had a rough day with two-over 73 and was tied 126th.
Scrivener finished a career high 32nd in the 2019 Race to Dubai Rankings courtesy of seven top 10 finishes.
Scrivener was unlucky not to extend his advantage as a lengthy birdie putt shaved the left edge of the hole at the 17th before a carbon copy effort at the last missed to the right, before his compatriot also carded an opening 64 in Hertfordshire.
Lee missed the cut during the first two legs of the UK Swing at the Betfred British Masters and Hero Open but made a superb run of birdies around the turn to move into contention.
Lee won the ISPS Handa Vic Open on home soil in February.
Former world No 1 Lee Westwood and Thorbjorn Olesen led a group of five players at five under.