Thomas Higgins and Paraic McGrath defied the miserable conditions to fire a pair of two-under par 69s that set the bar on day one of the Irish Boys U16 Amateur Open at Donabate.
Highlight of the day for Roscommon’s Higgins was undoubtedly a stunning eagle two at the par-4 10th hole while the youngster added three more birdies to his scorecard in a superb round of golf.
Cregmore Park’s McGrath sizzled with six birdies in total on a damp and dreary day on the peninsula but home and hosed at minus-two was a super start considering the conditions.
The leading duo head English raider, Frank Kennedy by one who was the only other player in the field to break par after an opening 70. Kennedy is no stranger to these shores having tasted victory at the Irish Boys Under 14’s Championship at Greenacres Golf Club in Ballyclare already this year.
Another big danger to the two atop the board is 15-year-old Joshua Hill from Galgorm Castle who looms large at even par.
Hill, who plays off a plus three handicap, has already won several tournaments this year and played for Ireland in the recent Boys U18 Home Internationals in Wales.
The teenage star arrived on the peninsula fresh off making the cut amongst the professionals at the World Invitational and carded five birdies, all of which were cancelled out by three bogeys and a double in a solid opening effort.
Also lurking with intent is Baltinglass star, Joseph Byrne who swapped three birdies and three dropped shots in an even par effort of his own. Alongside Hill earlier this month, Byrne picked up five of a possible six points at the Boys Home Internationals. He was only outscored by the Galgorm Castle talent who collected all six! The stage is nicely set then after the opening salvo.
Since the competition began in 2006, many players who have gone on to be top class amateur and professional golfers have played in it, including current European Tour professionals Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan and Challenge Tour player Robin Dawson.
The 54-hole event will finish on Friday.
Full Scoring HERE