The 26-year-old from Oslo had the good fortune to be playing in the same group as Paul McGinley, Europe's Ryder Cup captain, at Celtic Manor yesterday when he carded an opening 64 to lead the Wales Open by two strokes. Kofstad holed his bunker shot for an eagle three at the last and a seven-under total, with McGinley responding by giving him a high-five in recognition of his feat.
While the surprise first-round leader does not expect to be given a wildcard for the Ryder Cup on the evidence of just 18 holes, he was delighted nonetheless. "To play in the Ryder Cup would be great, but I am going to have to take it as it comes," he said. "I have put in a decent application."
Kofstad, a recent graduate from the European Challenge Tour by virtue of two wins, is 149th in the Race to Dubai rankings after finishing tied 23rd in last week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles' PGA Centenary Course, the venue for next year's biennial match. "You are only ever one week away from the safety zone and, if I play like this, it wouldn't be a problem reaching it," he said.
McGinley, meanwhile, was suitably impressed. "Espen hits it a million miles off the tee and he hit a lot of fairways," he said. "He also has a good short game. Maybe it's a good omen. To perform well around a golf course like this, an ex-Ryder Cup course, is obviously a good indicator."
The dozen Scots among the field failed to perform to their satisfaction, however, with Clydebank's Scott Henry - joint fourth last week - one of the few to return a palatable score, in the form of a level par 71.