Meat-free McGee gets his teeth into Made in Denmark Challenge

Ruaidrhi McGee is in pole position in Denmark. Picture © Getty Images 

A new, (mostly) meat-free diet, coupled with a winter training programme in America and Portugal, ensured that Rosapenna touring professional Ruaidhri McGee continued his outstanding start to the season by sinking his teeth into the first round lead of the Made in Denmark Challenge.

Playing in the first match of the day off the tenth tee at Royal Copenhagen Golf, McGee posted a fine first round of four under par 67 to take a one-shot lead from Englishman Jack Senior, with Derry's Michael McGeady tied for 15th after an excellent, one over 72.

“I just played well out there – I had a couple of early birdies which got me onto the round and then I just hit loads of fairways and gave myself chances,” said the 24 year old McGee. “I took another three of them on the back nine but then dropped one on my 17th hole but overall it was a pretty good start.

“It’s a difficult course but it played a lot better this morning than it did during practice on Tuesday when the rain was coming in. It’s a fair test though and I think it suits my eye well even though at the start of the week it might be a bit long for me.

“I have been playing well so just keep it going and hopefully produce more of the same over the next few days. It’s certainly a good start, so let’s see what happens over the next few days.”

Lurgan's Gareth Shaw is tied 39th in decent shape despite a three over 74 but just one birdie in a six over 77 leaves Gareth Maybin in a precarious share of 92nd.

As for McGee, he made a solid start to the year with a top 20 finish in Kenya in April before tying for second place in Madrid a couple of weeks later having begun his year with a month's practice in the US and another spell in Portugal.

A tie for eighth place in Turkey last week cemented McGee’s fine start to the year and propelled him to sixth place in the Road to Oman Rankings, and he continued his fine form in the Danish Capital to take the early lead.

“I have prepared well for the season this year – I went over to America to practice for a month in Palm Springs and then had three weeks in Portugal so it was great to get some real quality practice in before the season got underway. I have no excuses now!

“I think the biggest change I made over the winter was to my diet. I have gone meat-free and it has made a big difference to me. I wouldn’t quite say I’m on the same diet as Novak Djokovic or Justin Rose but it is making a difference and I feel in much better shape than I did before.”

Royal Copenhagen Golf proved as stiff a test as many of the players had predicted on Tuesday and Wednesday, with swirling cross-winds giving every player in the field plenty to think about.

Denmark’s home contingent enjoyed a mixed day in front of outstanding crowds at Royal Copenhagen, with over 1200 spectators enjoying round one of the Made in Denmark Challenge.

JB Hansen leads the home challenge after a one under par 70 left him well placed to make a move up the leaderboard over the coming three days.

Complete First Round Scores

67 Ruaidhri McGee (Irl);

68 J Senior (Eng);

69 J Lima  (Por); N Bertasio (Ita); O Henningsson  (Swe);

70 E Dubois (Fra); A McArthur  (Sco); N Johansson (Swe); J Hansen  (Den);

71 S Brown (Eng); M Søgaard  (Den); M Jonzon (Swe); M Lafeber (Ned); J Huldahl (Den);

72 K Subregis  (Fra); B Parker  (Eng); Michael McGeady (Irl); E Saltman  (Sco); S Einhaus (Ger); J Robinson (Eng); P Widegren  (Swe); V Riu  (Fra); T Tree (Eng); J Hahn (USA); R Evans  (Eng); S Arnold  (Aus);

73 S Gros (Fra); J Winther (Den); P Whiteford (Sco); F Calmels  (Fra); A Björk (Swe); T Linard (Fra); P Vejgaard  (Den); T Lawrence (RSA); S Juul (Den); P Howard  (Eng); Z Lombard  (RSA); L Nemecz (Aut);

74 S Wakefield (Eng); B Ritthammer (Ger); J Glennemo (Swe); T Pilkadaris (Aus); G Watremez (Bel); R Enoch  (Wal); M Orrin (Eng); Gareth Shaw (Nir); S Jeppesen  (Swe); R Davies (Wal); J Kunzenbacher (Ger); D Kemmer (USA);

75 D Stewart (Sco); N Kristensen  (Den); M Delpodio  (Ita); S Manley (Wal); R Hjelm (Den); J Sjöholm (Swe); P Figueiredo  (Por); T Elissalde  (Fra); P Tarver-Jones (Eng); C Ford (Eng); J McLeary  (Sco); O Nyholm (Den); D Frittelli (RSA); J Doherty  (Sco); J Rask (Swe); C Baech Christensen (Den); D Løkke (Den); N Møller (am) (Den); S Stemann(am) (Den); J Axelsen (am) (Den);

76 S Soderberg (Swe); C Hanson (Eng); A Kaleka  (Fra); N Geyger (Chi); T Nemecz (Aut); R Kellett (Sco); J Fahrbring (Swe); N Lemke (Swe); N Kimsey (Eng); R Kakko  (Fin); A Hartø  (Den); J White (Eng); E Bertheussen (Nor); P Meesawat  (Tha); C Shinkwin (Eng); S Drummond (Sco); C Gloet  (Den); D Law (Sco); A Bernadet  (Fra); A Snobeck  (Fra); W Besseling  (Ned);

77 S Griffiths (Eng); L Tintera  (Cze); D Palm (Swe); M Wiegele  (Aut); R Coles (Eng); W Harrold (Eng); B Stone (RSA); J Elson  (Eng); W Booth  (Sco); N Ravano (Ita); Gareth Maybin (Nir); J Verselin (Fra); D Foos (Ger); J Billing (Swe); J Dantorp (Swe);

78 D Markle (Can); M Trappel  (Aut); B Åkesson (Swe); P Gal  (Cze); P Relecom  (Bel); G Murray  (Sco); H Joannes  (Bel); S Gundorph (Den); D Im (USA); D Gaunt (Eng); S Henry  (Sco); P Launer (am) (Den);

79 A Saddier (Fra); A Halvorsen  (Nor); S Reeves (USA); J Stalter (Fra); K Estrup (Den); A Rota (Ita); C Arendell (USA); D Coupland (Eng); S Kim (USA);

80 N Høgh (Den); D Ulrich (Sui); F Bergamaschi (Ita); B Stow (Eng); T Sinnott (Aus); T Sluiter  (Ned); S Heisele (Ger);

81 A Domingo (Esp); E Goya (Arg); G Woolgar (Eng); M Haastrup  (Den); X Ruiz Fonhof  (Ned); M Hansen (am) (Den);

82 P Dwyer (Eng); J Pastor (Esp);

83 J Makitalo  (Fin); J Watts (Eng); J Lerchedahl (Den); O Stark (Swe); F Andersson Hed (Swe); R Hahn (Hun); S Echikson  (Bel); J Perttila (Fin);

84 V Østerby (Den);

85 D Huizing (Ned);

86 N Thommen  (Sui); K Samooja (Fiin);

DQ S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp);

RT S Fallon (Eng)