Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy sprung into life from the off to fire a seven-under par 66 that leads after day one of the EuroPro’s IFX Payments Championship at Brocket Hall.
McElroy was consistent throughout his first round, making the turn in just 32 shots and chalking up seven birdies overall, including one on the tricky par-5 10th hole, and he’ll sleep on a one-shot lead overnight after enjoying a blemish-free opening effort.
With plenty of Irish interest, Niall Kearney was another to navigate his way around the Palmerston Course without a bogey on the card. The Royal Dublin professional picked up four birdies in a 68 that puts him in a share of ninth spot at minus-four.
Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith is one shot further back after he negotiated his round without a bogey to sit in a tie for 19th at minus-three.
Best of the rest was Old Conna’s Neil O’Briain who was the only other Irish player to manage parity or better; he sits in a share of 48th at even par.
Headfort’s Joe Dillon (+1), Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan (+2), Headfort’s Brian Casey (+4), Northern Ireland’s Owen Crooks (+6) and West Cliff’s Brendan McCarroll (+10) will all face an uphill battle to make the 36-hole cut, with the leading 50 professionals going ahead to the third and final round on Friday.
As for the chasing back, amateur John Gough, Golfing4Life, posted a rather brilliant -6 to tie for second with Conor O’Neil (Pollock/Mearns Castle), Guy Woodman (ProAgenda.com) and Chris Gane (Lefthandedgolf at Silvermere) in their opening rounds of the PGA EuroPro Tour opener.
It was O’Neil who stole the early march on the field five under after six holes including an eagle on the third. Gough meanwhile had an unblemished round with three birdies on the front and back nine respectively to put him on six under. Woodman put himself in the mix after seven birdies on his round of 67 after day one.
Todd Clements, Braintree Golf Club, Darren Walkley (Wonderful Brands & Trendy Golf), Jamie Bower of Meltham Golf Club and Ashton Turner, Kenwick Park Golf Club all recorded scores of 68 to tie for third after their first rounds on -5. Q School joint winners, Robert Burlison, and Jamie Dick posted rounds of 75 and 76 respectively.
Brocket Hall’s own James Laskey finished his first round on -1 whilst counterpart Tom Shadbolt shot +2.
Full Scoring HERE