Tim Rice carded a three-under par opening 68 to head the Irish hopefuls after day one of EuroPro Q School 2021 Final Stage supported by Sky Sports at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa.
The Limerick professional fired five birdies and a double-bogey on the Gainsborough course to sit in a tie for 25th overnight. Players are alternating between two courses over the first two days with Rice up to four-under at the time of writing after picking up a shot at the first on the Constable course on Thursday morning.
80 will make the cut after today’s play. The highest category available from Q School supported by Sky Sports is category three. This goes to those who finish inside the top 30 overall after Friday. Thereafter, players 31–60 and ties get category six. 61-80 and ties category 10.
Northern Ireland’s Chris Carroll was also at three-under in the clubhouse after a fine opening 68 of his own. Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith posted a two-under 70 while Kilkenny’s Luke Donnelly carded a brilliant four-birdie back nine 32 on his way to a one-under par opening effort that leaves him in a tie for 52nd alongside Brian McCormack Jnr.
Daniel Mulligan, Cork’s John Hickey and Youghal’s Conor Coyne were all at even par while Galway’s Ronan Mullarney was in a group at one-over.
Benjamin Jones and Thomas Higson hit the front after the pair fired in opening rounds of 64 and 64 respectively on the Constable and Gainsborough courses.
The first two days are split over both courses at Stoke by Nayland with both making the most of favourable conditions in Suffolk. Higson carded nine birdies in an opening-round which saw him go out in 30 with six birdies and a bogey. Jones meanwhile went out for 31* on the Constable course with five birdies to set early momentum before recording after a bogey on the first to finish strongly on day one.
America’s Garth McGee made ten birdies on the Constable course and settled for a 66 (-6) after finding himself in trouble on several occasions on the back nine with bogies at the Par 4s on 12 and 14 before a further bogey on 18. Despite that, McGee sits tied third with four others after one round.
Robin Williams of Peterborough Milton Golf Club, James Adams (Adams Enclosures LTD), Ryan Cornfield (Enville Golf Club), and Louis Hirst (Banstead Downs Golf Club) all join McGee on six under par. Williams put together a string of birdies from 15-17 to be in the hunt whilst the experienced Adams went on the same run. Cornfield and Hirst had fairly straightforward opening days with a bogey apiece on their cards.
Connor Stoyell (West Derby Golf Club) is tied eighth at five under alongside four others to round out the current top ten with James Wilson (Balmore Golf Club), Ryan Brooks (Whittington Heath Golf Club), Harry Boyle, and Ryan Brooks (Whittington Heath Golf Club).