Prague, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - Seeking a spot on the European Ryder Cup team, Jamie Donaldson grabbed an early, 1-shot lead following the first round at the inaugural Czech Masters.
Donaldson, who has not won on the European Tour this season, fired a 6-under 66 on Thursday at Albatross Golf Resort. Donaldson, a two-time winner on tour, has not won since the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last year.
"I know what I've got to do this week so it's just a case of going out and doing it," said Donaldson. "It's another golf tournament where you've got to go out there and play as well as you can and content to win the tournament. I'm in a position to do that now. I just need more of the same over the next three rounds."
Mikael Lundberg is right on Donaldson's heels after his opening-round, 5-under 67.
Bradley Dredge, who finished runner-up to Marc Warren at last week's Made in Denmark, headlines a group of 10 players sitting two shots back at 4-under 68. Dredge is joined by Paul Waring, Kenneth Ferrie, Danny Willett, John Hahn, Keith Horne, Lee Slattery, Soren Kjeldsen, Matthew Nixon and S.S.P. Chowrasia.
Donaldson started off strong, coming out of the gates with a birdie at the par-5 first to get into red numbers early. Donaldson briefly dropped back to even-par with a bogey at the third, but he got that shot right back with his second gain at No. 4.
Following three straight pars, Donaldson got to 3-under for the day with back- to-back birdies at eight and nine. After making the turn with a par on 10, Donaldson tripped to his second bogey of the day at the par-4 11th. Like his first bogey, Donaldson atoned for his mistake right away with his fifth birdie on the par-5 12th.
Donaldson added another birdie at 14 before rattling off two straight pars on 15 and 16. He shot to the top of the leaderboard with a pair of birdies at 17 and 18, both par-4s, to get to minus-6.
"It was a good day," Donaldson said. "I played nicely - the course was playing tough early on, quite windy and then died down late, but that finish is pretty tough, so I'm happy with the result."
Like Donaldson, Lundberg was playing in the afternoon and he too got off to a hot start with birdies at one and two to quickly get to 2-under. After two straight pars, Lundberg picked up his third birdie at the par-4 fifth.
Lundberg's first and only mistake of the first round came at No. 7, when he dropped a shot with a bogey at the par-3. Lundberg made the turn with two pars at eight and nine before pouring in his fourth birdie at the 10th.
Two more birdies at 12 and 13 preceded a string of five straight pars to end Lundberg's round, putting him one behind Donaldson.
"I played really steady and really solid," Lundberg stated. "I only made one mistake today and made some putts so it doesn't get much better than that."
NOTES: Entering this week, Donaldson currently sits at No. 8 in the Ryder Cup world points and No. 5 in the European points ... Donaldson finished tied for second at the WGC-Cadillac Championship this year ... Tee times for the morning groups were delayed one hour due to lightning. Afternoon tee times were delayed 50 minutes.