Steven Quinlan (SQ Golf) fired a bogey-free 68 (-4) to lead at the close of play on day one of the 109th Irish PGA Championship at Bunclody Golf and Fishing Club.
The 29-year-old has found some form in recent weeks and a return to an old set of irons has coincided with an upturn in his ‘greens in regulation’ stats.
“I always seem to play well coming into August,” said Steven. “The last couple of rounds I have been striking it well but I have been making some silly mistakes.
“Today everything worked pretty well. I think I missed only two greens and I hit it pin high quite a lot. It’s playing long but we’re placing so it’s not too bad. Overall, it’s a great golf course.”
Quinlan birdied the third when he hit a wedge into a foot, the 11th where he holed from 18 feet and the 14th and 15th.
He leads Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny GC) and the 2017 Irish PGA Champion, Tim Rice (Limerick GC) by a shot with Colm Moriarty (Glasson GC), Damien McGrane (Carlow GC) and Brian McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching) a shot further back on two-under.
“That was a nice solid start, I’m happy with that,” said Rice. “It’s a great test of golf, a proper course, you have to hit a lot of good shots to do well.”
Bolger, a Carlow native, was four under after 10 but a dropped shot on the par-5 18th cost him a share of the lead.
“I maybe didn’t play great but scored well, holed a couple of good birdie putts,” said Bolger.
Round two gets underway on Wednesday after which a cut will be made to the top 50 and ties.
The pre-event Pro-Am finished in a three-way tie with Richard O’Donovan (Dun Laoghaire GC), Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) and Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching) posting rounds of 70 (-2) at the Co. Wexford venue.
McGeady also came up trumps in the team event, guiding his amateur partners, Colm Kelly, John Wallace and M J Fetherson to success with 85 pts.
Full Scoring HERE
Leading scores (par-71)
1 S Quinlan (SQ Golf) -4 68
T2 J Bolger (Kilkenny GC) -3 69
T2 T Rice (Limerick GC) -3 69
T4 B McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching) -2 70
T4 C Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) -2 70
T4 D McGrane (Carlow GC) -2 70
T7 C Power (McGuirks Golf) -1 71
T7 S Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) -1 71
T7 N Grant (Knock GC) -1 71
T7 B Jnr McCormack (Royal Dublin GC) -1 71