Murphy and O’Rourke hit the front at Clutch Pro Tour’s NI Open

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John Murphy. Picture by Pat Cashman

Kinsale’s John Murphy and K Club professional Conor O’Rourke head the field after day one of the £10,000 Clutch Pro Tour’s Northern Ireland Open at Cairndhu.

With three spots up for grabs into next month’s $3m ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf – two invites for the leading men and one for the top woman – the pace-setting Irish pair fired three-under par rounds of 67 ahead of Tuesday’s final round.

It’s a superb start for Cork man Murphy who only turned pro last week with Dublin-based JMC Sports. The former Louisville Cardinals star carded six birdies, including two at his closing two holes to be matched only by O’Rourke who carded five birdies in a superb bounce-back performance after missing the cut at last week’s Challenge de Cadiz.

Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith is just a shot further back at two-under while Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy and Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick were the only other players to break par at minus-one.

Modest! Golf professional Brendan Lawlor was seven shots back of the lead after carding a four-over 74.

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