SPIJK, Netherlands – Ben Evans made five birdies in his first six holes and finished with a 6-under 65 and a one-shot lead in the opening round of the KLM Open on Thursday.
''I need one good week to keep my tour card,'' said Evans, who is ranked 143 in the European Tour's season-long Race to Dubai. ''Hopefully that is this week.''
Eight players, including Dutch amateur Rowin Caron, were bunched behind Evans on 5 under at The Dutch, a par-71 Colin Montgomerie-designed course hosting the tournament for the first time.
Defending champion Thomas Pieters, a captain's pick in the Europe Ryder Cup team, pulled out of the tournament after being stung by a bee this week.
''One bee sting on Monday during the golf challenge against Joost Luiten led to a major allergic reaction with flu symptoms, and forced me to pull out of my favorite tournament of the year,'' Pieters said in a statement on his website and social media accounts.
Chris Wood, who also is scheduled to make his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine, struggled as the wind picked up in the afternoon and could manage only a 1-over 72. He's attempting to regain his rhythm after taking a break from golf to get married.