On a day when the market leaders, Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood, both disappointed, one of Dan Geraghty's four first round leader picks, Miguel Angel Jimenez, has finished the day in front at the Omega European Masters, alongside last year's runner-up, Scott Hend, and a rejuvenated Tyrrell Hatton. All three fired six-under-par 64s and all three teed off this morning.

The forecast hadn't suggested there'd be an awful lot of difference between the morning and afternoon but the breeze got up slightly and Ryan Fox and Thongchai Jaidee are the only players inside the top-nine places that teed off this afternoon. The differential in scores wasn't huge but the afternoon starters averaged 0.93 of a stroke more than the morning starters. 

Jimenez, at 53, is bidding to extend his own record as the oldest winner on the European Tour and he's not the only old-timer in-the-mix. Hend is no spring chicken and David Drysdale, Darren Fichardt and the aforementioned Jaidee, who are amongst the six players tied for fourth on five-under-par, are all veterans and it's the latter named I'm backing now.

It's possible to get away with a fairly slow start here - last year's winner, Noren, trailed by five in a tie for 40th after round one - but it's perhaps not wise to go too far down the leaderboard. We have to go back 20 years to the last winner that failed to break 70 on day one (Constantino Rocca trailed by 11 in tied 100th!) and the vast majority of winners have been bang up with the pace at halfway, so anyone floundering today needs an exceptional round tomorrow.

Of my pre-event picks, SSP Chawrasia was disappointing but Richie Ramsay and Alexander Bjork did at least break par. Ramsay hit 69 and Bjork 68. I had high hopes of Bjork and he was three-under-par after six holes so it was a bit frustrating to see him finish on two-under but I'm hopeful he can get a move on in the morning.

I'm quite happy to wait and see what tomorrow brings before getting properly involved but I felt compelled to back Jaidee. He was my sole selection in the event last year and I don't want a repeat of last week! Haydn Porteous won the Czech Masters on Sunday, a year after he'd missed the cut when I'd backed him before the off at 70.00! 

I haven't just backed Jaidee because I'm worried about lightening striking twice, he's been largely out of form this year so there's a good chance today was a one off, but if it wasn't, he's very reliable in-contention and one to have on your side.

Pre-Event Selections:
Richie Ramsay @ 33/1 (Sportsbook)
Alexander Bjork @ 140.00
SSP Chawrasia @ 320.00
In-Play Pick:
Thongchai Jaidee @ 25.00

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