India’s Shubhankar Sharma made a strong start but lost momentum before pulling things back for an erratic even-par 71 in the first round of the inaugural Celtic Classic golf tournament here.
Sharma, winner of two European Tour titles in 2018, is Tied-71st and needs a solid second round to avoid missing a third successive cut.
Thomas Pieters held a one-shot lead on his return to golf following a superb first round 64.
Sharma birdied the third and fourth to be two-under through four holes, but he gave away those gains on fifth and sixth and turned in even par.
Bogeys on the 10th and 14th put him at two-over, but he fought back with birdies on the 15th and 18th to get back to even par.
“Those birdies gave me the confidence for the action in the second round,” said Sharma, who was clearly disappointed at so many bogeys.
Pieters, a four-time European Tour winner, became a father for the first time to daughter Florence during the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
He was one shot clear of England’s Toby Tree and Australian Jake McLeod, who shot 65 each.
Italian Edoardo Molinari, who starred in Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup win at the Newport venue, is a shot further back on five-under, alongside compatriot Guido Migliozzi, Swede Sebastian Soderberg, Nacho Elvira of Spain, American Sihwan Kim, Scotland’s Marc Warren and Adrian Meronk of Poland.