Bland shares lead in Denmark in bid for back-to-back wins

FARSO, Denmark (AP) — Richard Bland is back in the lead on the European Tour, two weeks after becoming the oldest first-time winner in its history.

The 48-year-old Englishman shot 5-under 66 on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Made in Himmerland event in Denmark with Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, Finland’s Lauri Ruuska, Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger and South Korea’s Yi Keun Chang.

In the last event on the tour — the British Masters two weeks ago — Bland finally won at the 478th attempt by beating Guido Migliozzi in a playoff at The Belfry.

“I was just happy to get back out playing, to be honest,” the No. 134-ranked Bland said. “I hadn’t really done a lot last week, I played once with some friends and did a little bit of practice.

“I was coming in a little bit unprepared, but sometimes that’s not always a bad thing. I just tried to carry on where I left off and managed to do that.”

Wiesberger is defending the title he won in 2019 — the event was canceled last year because of the pandemic — and moved into contention with three straight birdies from the fourth hole before an eagle on No. 8. He holed a 30-foot putt for birdie at the last.

Ruuska, whose round included a hole-in-one at the par-3 16th, usually plays in the Nordic Golf League. He has an exemption for this week.

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