Hurley’s 72 the best the Irish can muster on day one in Germany

Gary Hurley (photo: Getty Images)

Gary Hurley’s one-over par 72 leads the Irish scoring after a disappointing opening day at the Big Green Egg German Challenge where home favourite Matthias Schwab leads after a blistering 63 at Wittelsbacher Golfclub.

West Waterford professional Hurley has been enjoying a mini-revival on the Alps Tour this season and he carried that confidence to Germany on a nearly-day for the 28-year old who traded two birdies with three bogeys to leave him outside the top-60 at one-over.

West of Ireland winner and Royal Dublin amateur Hugh Foley posted three birdies in a two-over 73 on his Challenge Tour debut, leaving him alongside The Island’s Paul McBride who also signed for a 73. James Sugrue and John Murphy were stranded at four-over after day one 75s with Jonathan Yates outside the top-130 after going one worse with a 76.

At the top, Schmid posted a career-low eight-under par round of 63 to secure a three-stroke lead after the first round at Wittelsbacher Golfclub. Schmid carded eight birdies in a bogey-free round to move two shots clear of compatriot Michael Hirmer, with two-time Challenge Tour winner Julien Brun and 2020 Road to Mallorca Champion Ondřej Lieser a shot further back.

The 23-year old is chasing a first professional victory after recording top 20 finishes on both the Challenge Tour and European Tour this season, including the BMW International Open in Munich in June.

“I’ve only been professional for a couple of months now,” he said. “Everything was working nicely today from tee to green and I made a few putts as well so that’s a good combination.

“I drove it nicely, I hit some nice wedges and I actually made a couple of good saves too so that always keeps the momentum going and that was big for me today. I think the course is brilliant and it’s definitely a ball strikers’ course. You’ve got to hit it well off the tee and I think that suits me.”

Schmid had family and friends watching him compete on home soil and admits that the positive atmosphere gave him the momentum he needed to perform well.

“I think we had a very positive atmosphere out there today and I took advantage nicely of that. I’m just trying to keep the pedal down and see what comes out at the end.”

England’s Nathan Kimsey, Daniel Hillier of New Zealand, Frenchman David Ravetto and Lukas Nemecz of Austria share fifth position on four under par, while Hugo Leon, winner of last week’s British Challenge Presented by Modest! Golf Management is one of eleven players a shot further back.

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