Paul McBride, Gary Hurley and David Carey are the leading Irishmen after the first round of the Molinetto Alps Open on a good day as a whole for the strong local contingent on the Alps Tour.
All three opened their tournaments with four-under 67s in Milan, while the remaining five Irish players are all projected to make the cut as it stands at Molinetto Country Club.
Hurley and Carey both carded six birdies and two bogeys in their opening rounds, while an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys for McBride saw him back in the clubhouse on the same score after day one.
That is only good enough for a share of 15th place at this early stage, however, and they are already four shots adrift of the Netherlands’ Koen Kouwenaar, who opened with a bogey-free eight-under 63 to lead by one shot.
The Dutchman split his scoring evenly with four birdies on each nine to open up a slender advantage, with Finland’s Eemil Alajarvi, Spain’s Jacobo Pastor and Italy’s Stefano Pitoni a shot further back after each signed for 64s.
Further down the leaderboard, Conor Purcell and Jonathan Yates are positioned just behind their fellow countrymen after both recorded three-under 68s at Molinetto Country Club.
Purcell battled back from three bogeys on his front nine with a run of four straight birdies starting at the 14th to get back into red figures, while Yates signed for five birdies and two bogeys.
Simon Bryan, James Sugrue and Luke Donnelly – fresh off his first DP World Tour start of the season at last week’s Catalunya Championship – are all in a share of 49th after two-under 69s,