|French Open first-round leaderboard|
|-4 B Dredge (Wal); -3 G McDowell (NI), A Sullivan (Eng); -2 T Pieters (Bel), D Burmester (SA), R Karlsson (Swe)|
|Selected others: -1 J Morrison (Eng), C Wood (Eng); Level R Knox (Sco) +1 I Poulter (Eng), S Garcia (Spa)|
Welshman Bradley Dredge shrugged off a bogey at his opening hole to take a one-shot lead after the opening round of the French Open.
Dredge found the rough with his tee shot at the 10th, his first hole, but recovered to shoot a four-under 67.
That put him a stroke ahead of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, and Andy Sullivan from England.
The tournament is being held at Le Golf National near Paris, which will host September’s Ryder Cup.
Three places at next month’s Open are on offer – they will go to the highest three finishers in the top 10 who are yet to qualify for Carnoustie.
“To have a bad start on 10 with a poor tee shot but after that to remain bogey-free, very pleased with that,” said world number 411 Dredge, who posted his score before the higher winds arrived for the later starters.
“It was getting tougher and tougher out there but I’m obviously delighted with that score to start the tournament off.”
McDowell has been named as a vice-captain for Thomas Bjorn’s European team for the Ryder Cup but still harbours hopes of a playing role. He carded seven birdies and four bogeys.
“Very pleased with that round,” he said. “It was a round which I felt could have got away from me in the end because I started to wobble a little bit as the wind started to strengthen.
“The fairways became very hard to find and the set-up is really tough this week. I think this golf course has evolved unbelievably over the last 15 years,
“I think they’ve really turned it into a magnificent test of golf, but when you whip a 25mph wind across it, it becomes like any links golf course – the rough is very penal and it becomes very difficult to score.”
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