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Pepperell drops practice round to fire himself six-under on day one of golf’s Dutch Open

Image credit: European Tour Group

England's Eddie Pepperell got off to a flier at the Dutch Open finding himself one behind leader Joost Luiten after day one.

31-year-old Pepperell posted an impressive six-under 66 which included seven birdies throughout the round.

The Englishman has been winless on the DP World Tour since 2018 and put today’s solid start down to advice from his girlfriend to avoid practice rounds before the main event.

Eddie Pepperell said: “I’ve heard it was nice and it’s lovely. Really good golf course, I was kind of surprised how good it is to be honest. I know it has the same designed as Kingsbarns, so I have been told, and it certainly feels that way, links turf, which historically I have always liked, and it was enjoyable. The fairways were pretty wide, you’ve got to really dial in from there, so it does suit my game, and if I am swinging it well which for most part I did today.

“Well last year I was trying hard, I was turning up to tournaments early, you know working, I say working in inverted commas, working a lot harder than I historically did and I was getting home knackered, and Jen was like, “what are you doing? You used to play Majors blind, when you were doing well you wouldn’t bother with practice rounds”, and I think she has got a point.

“You know for me I always focused on energy levels, short games, trying to at least feel comfortable with where my game is actually at. I could play my home golf course and swinging it the way I have been the last couple years, and not make a cut out here, so the truth is you have got to have your skill set and I am just prioritising that and I think things are moving in the right direction.

“Well in this wind it just demands you control your irons really well I think. There’re not many crosswinds off the tee, so it’s either downwind or into the wind, there are some tough par fours out there today that are playing fairly long and so there isn’t a shot you haven’t got to hit out there to be honest. You have to hit your mid irons or your long irons, tough par threes, you have some water chucked in with short par threes, good variation around things golf course and thinking about it I don’t actually think I have played a Dutch Open on anything other than a really good golf course, so I enjoy coming here and it is good to be back.

“I’m trying to get back what I had, that is the most frustrating part. It is venturing into the unknown which can be enjoyable but when you are trying to get something back, it is infuriating because you know you can do it and your body is not responding and that is where I have been at.

“My body has definitely different the last couple years, my back swing is not as full, and then as a consequence that sets off a real terrible chain of events on the downswing, and then over time it deteriorates and then you lose confidence, and then strike, and as you know – well you may not know – but I can tell you from experience, it goes the wrong way. I have seen my four or fifth coach in the last 12 months that I am seeing currently now, he is an old coach and I have spent some time with him in 2018, and I am just trying to put it all in a melting pot, and it’s not far away from where I used to play. I think he is going to help me and then I need to help myself, and do what I did in the past, take more ownership.”