Conor Purcell powered to a five-under par 67 to help Ireland burst into the lead at the European Amateur Team Championship in Sweden.
Bidding to end a 10-year barren spell at the event, Portmarnock’s Purcell posted five birdies and an eagle with Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty (69) and Mallow’s James Sugrue (70) also chipping in to help Ireland reach a nine-under par tally that sets the standard alongside Team England at Ljunghusen Golf Club.
Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon’s 72 and Galway’s Ronan Mullarney’s 73 meant Kilkenny’s Mark Power’s 74 wasn’t counted.
It’s over a decade now since Ireland last claimed victory at the event with a team that included a soon to be star in Shane Lowry in 2008. And although it’s early days, this year’s hopefuls, spearheaded by 21-year old Purcell, could hardly have asked for a better start.
In the Boys Championship at Golf de Chantilly in France, Holywood’s Tom McKibbin’s even par 71 was the pick of the Irish bunch with the boys in green sitting eighth after day one.
At Is Molas, Ireland’s Women find themselves up against it also despite Lauren Walsh and Annabel Wilson returning two-under par 70’s. Ireland find themselves outside the top-8 in ninth and with work to do if they’re to secure a quarter final spot.
While last but not least, the Irish Girls’ team in Spain need a strong performance on Wednesday to improve on their current 10th place position after Douglas’ Sara Byrne top-scored for Ireland with a 74.
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