Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, French duo Grégory Havret and Gary Stal and England’s James Morrison all fired three under par rounds of 70 to open up a one-shot lead, with 52 players within three shots of the top of the leaderboard.

Starting on the tenth, Stal turned in 34 with birdies on the 12th, 13th and 18th, and when he also made a gain on the first he was out in front on his own. He then bogeyed the second to drop to three under but a wonderful pitch to the par five eighth had him ahead again before a disappointing closing bogey. « It’s a good golf course which is fantastic to play », said James Morrison, co-leader. « You’ve got to be on your game, hit it straight, if you do get it in trouble you’ve got to get out of trouble well and I think had a mix of playing well today, hitting the right shots at the right time.»

Bjerregaard ended the 2015 season with five top tens in nine events but just one followed in 2016, although the 25 year old has shown signs of rediscovering his best form this term. He turned in 35 with three birdies and two bogeys and remained one under stood on the 12th tee before an eagle-birdie run thrust him into the lead. But he would drop two further shots while picking up a birdie on the 15th to slip back into a share. Bjerregaard said: « I played well today, a lot of positives to take from it. Obviously it’s hard coming from a five week break, not really sure where my game was exactly ».

Frenchman Levy produced a show-stopping finish to his 71 after being level par stood on the seventh tee. The three-time European Tour winner birdied the seventh and then holed his approach to the eighth for an eagle. Countryman Bourdy had also held a share of the lead but he too three-putted the last, while another Frenchman, Sordet, finished with a birdie in his round.