Mt. Juliet’s Gavin Moynihan snatched six birdies in a score of two-under par 70 to head the Irish contingent on day one of the 100th anniversary edition of the KLM Open in Amsterdam.
The effort left Moynihan trailing four shots behind England’s Callum Shinkwin who produced a round of a six-under par 66 to be one clear of seven players tied in second.
European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington birdied his first hole and picked-up birdies at his sixth and seventh to race to three-under par before completing his closing 11 holes in two-over par for a one-under total.
Also at one-under is Paul Dunne after bouncing back from a double-bogey at the fifth with five birdies and two bogeys. The pair share 47th heading into round two but at just five shots back, it’s all to play for in Holland.
Belfast’s Michael Hoey got himself off to a good start with two birdies in his opening three holes but then produced a double bogey and two bogeys in his next five.
Hoey then ended his round bogey, double-bogey and birdie in a score of a three-over 75 and he’ll need to get on his bike, Dutch style, if he’s to hang around for a much-needed weekend assault on the leaderboard.
There’s no such fears for Shinkwin at minus-six. The Englishman sits 126th in the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex and 446th in the Official World Golf Rankings, but belied his status to lead a large chasing pack at The International.
The 26-year-old reached the turn in 32 courtesy of an eagle, three birdies and one dropped shot before a blemish free back nine – which included two gains – help him to the top of the leaderboard.
“My golf as of late has not been great, as has my health as well, but the golf… is still not there, still very uncomfortable but I managed to turn it round today and shoot a good round of 66,” reflected the leader.
“I caught food poisoning back in Sweden – it can happen anywhere – but I caught it there and couldn’t get up on that Friday morning and then I’ve had a bit of a bad back as well. My back went last week and I thought the best thing to do it to walk in and basically have the weekend off and recover.
“Just working hard really. Been down the range, working on what I needed to work on. I wasn’t hitting the ball very well, that’s probably why the back wasn’t great but I’m just working hard and if I’m feeling uncomfortable then that means I’m doing the right things.”
Malaysian Gavin Green made a trademark fast start to finish on five under, with Shinkwin’s playing partner Swede Per Langfors carding 67 to sit alongside Scot Marc Warren, Dane Nicolai Højgaard, and Englishmen Chris Paisley, Sam Horsfield and Matthew Southgate at five under.
The 2017 Masters Tournament champion Sergio Garcia led a group of eight players one shot further adrift at four under after signing for a bogey-free 68 on a low scoring morning in the Netherlands.
“It was nice,” said Garcia. “Obviously, the conditions got a little bit trickier in the last six or seven holes with the wind picking up a little bit. Before that it was quite nice, so I am happy with that.
“The experience yesterday wasn’t very good in the pro-am with the rain and my neck was a little bit stiff, but we are playing through it and hopefully it won’t creep up on me throughout the week. The course is nice, the greens are very nice and rolling at a nice speed, so it is a good-looking golf course with big greens and a lot of movement.
“I need a little bit more of the same thing I did today. Just keep working on the confidence and keep working hard like I have been doing, and hopefully I will have a chance this week.”
Defending champion Wu Ashun was one of ten players at three-under par, including two time KLM Open winner and playing partner Joost Luiten, who came home in a remarkable 30 after carding his opening front nine in three over.
Full scoring HERE