Casey & McBride in driving seat at Irish Open Qualifier

Paul McBride (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

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Brian Casey and Paul McBride set the standard on day one as professionals and amateurs alike flocked to Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Kildare to compete in the €40,000 qualifier for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by Paul McGinley.

Stars from the Challenge Tour, EuroPro and Alps Tour were joined by PGA in Ireland professionals and a selection of GUI panellists for the 36-hole tournament, administered by the PGA in Ireland, and it was Headfort’s Casey and The Island’s McBride who took route 66 to the clubhouse to set the standard on the opening day.

The 36-hole tournament sees contestants competing for four starting places in the $7,000,000 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch from July 4-7 in what could be a life-changing week for Ireland’s fringe professionals and upcoming amateurs.

As it stands, both Casey and McBride are inseparable at the top as the pair caught fire on Saturday in ideal conditions in Kildare. Casey found two eagles on his way to a six-under par tally while former minor Dublin hurler McBride smashed seven birdies in his superb effort.

As it stands, the four going through are Casey, McBride and Evolve Coaching’s Michael McGeady alongside Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy after the pair hit four-under par 68’s to sit two shots off the lead.

With so much at stake this weekend, there’s a raft of the country’s top professionals and amateurs stalking those in the driving seat thus far, including Old Conna’s Neil O’Briain, Naas amateur Robert Brazill and Clontarf’s Eamonn Brady who are all just one back of the current mark for the golden ticket to County Clare next week.

It truly is a super Sunday in store.

Full Scoring HERE

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