Ryan Griffin leads the Irish charge after day one of the R&A Student Tour Series final at St Andrews.
An excellent back nine turned an average day into a very good one for the Maynooth University student as three birdies on his way to the clubhouse ensured he signed for an opening two-under 70 on the Jubilee Course.
Griffin got off to the ideal start with a birdie on his opening hole before bogeys on the 3rd and 9th saw him turn in 37.
The Ballybofey and Stranolar GC man roared home in 33 after a brace of birdies on 11 and 12 were followed by a closing birdie three.
Griffin took advantage of the par-5s on the back nine and is in a good position to challenge for his second win of the series after sharing the first prize with teammate Jordan Boles in Portugal in March.
Griffin trails Englishman Greg Hurley by two strokes after the Hertfordshire man recovered from a double-bogey midway through his round to shoot a four-under 68.
Athenry native Sean O’Connell is also in contention early doors after a one-under 71 and he lies in solo third. O’Connell carded four birdies and three bogeys on the day and recovered from back-to-back bogeys in the middle of his back nine to birdie the 17th and finish in red numbers.
Trinity College golfer Eoin Sullivan is in a share of fourth place with American Otto Voettiner on level-par after an opening 72.
Like Griffin, Sullivan put together a blistering back nine of 33 having started slowly.
The Carton House man fell to three-over-par quickly after three bogeys in his first five holes but strung together two birdies and an eagle with just the one dropped shot on the back nine. You can’t win it on the first day but you can certainly lose it and Sullivan made sure he kept himself in the hunt.
David Kitt has continued his fine form in the series with an opening round of one-over 73 to share 6th place. The Maynooth University golfer who hails from Athenry opened with a brace of bogeys but birdies on 4 and 15 and a bogey on 13 kept him in contention.
Maynooth University’s Allan Hill is in a share of 11th on two-over after a first-round 74 as is his teammate Boles after a difficult finish, while fellow Maynoothians Eoin Murphy and Aaron Marshall are a shot further back after a pair of 75s.
Headfort’s Evan Shipp, Simon Walker and Harry Gillivan are locked together on four-over after opening their week with rounds of 76 which leaves them just outside the top-20.
In the women’s section Kate Dwyer is the sole Irishwoman in the field this week and she struggled to a nine-over 83 to leave her 13th in the 15 woman field.
The Rossmore native trails leader Lucy Jamieson by eleven shots after the Englishwoman shot a two-under 72 and was the only player to break par on day one.