David Carey’s last chance bid to break into the top-10 of the Alps Tour Order of Merit got off to a strong start at the Grand Final in Italy as he sits tied for third after the opening day’s action.
The Castleknock man began his tournament with a five-under 67 at Modena Golf & Country Club to sit in a strong position after day one, although he is already three back of early leaders Victor Garcia Broto and Gregorio de Leo.
At 15th in the Order of Merit, Carey needs to break into the top-10 in order to earn himself an exemption through the Second Stage of Q-School, while if he could squeeze into the top-five he would automatically earn Challenge Tour status next season.
Winning the Grand Final or finishing second by himself would be enough to earn Carey a top-five place and he has started well in that regard, carrying through his momentum from last week’s fourth-placed finish at the Golf Nazionale Alps Open into his opening round in Modena.
He will also be encouraged by seeing French amateur Paul Margolis, who is currently fifth in the rankings, down in 29th after an opening round of 72, with Italian Jacopo Vecchi Fossa, who is already guaranteed to win the Order of Merit, one better following a 71.
Also working in his favour is that second-placed Ryan Lumsden and third-placed Angel Hidalgo Portillo are not in action this week, potentially opening the door for Carey to steal in and claim one of the Category 13 exemptions on the second-tier for next year.
At the top of the leaderboard, Garcia Broto and De Leo both hold a commanding three-shot lead after the opening round following their excellent eight-under 64s in Modena, with both, like Carey, primed to take one of those top-five places with a strong finish.
Carey is tied for third alongside Italy’s Andrea Saracino and Portugal’s Vitor Londot Lopes, with Carlo Casalegno, Jack Floydd, Tom Vaillant and Luca Cianchetti one further back after rounds of 68.
Further down the leaderboard, Naas man Jonathan Yates opened with a one-under 71, while West Waterford’s Gary Hurley is one shot further back following a 72. It’s win or bust for the pair as they chase an unlikely top-10 spot in the end-of-season rankings.
- Full scoring HERE