Jonathan Yates and Gary Hurley lead the Irish charge at the Gosser Open in Austria, where they sit three shots off early lead after the opening round.
The pair both opened with five-under 67s at Golf Club Erzherzog Johann in Graz to share seventh after round one, three back of leader David Morland IV, the Canadian opening up an early two-shot advantage following an eight-under 64.
Yates started strongly with back-to-back birdies and rode that momentum to a good round, dropping his just one shot on his way back to the clubhouse around four more birdies for his 67, while Hurley, too, recorded six birdies and one bogey to join him on the same score.
They already have ground to make up on Canada’s Morland IV, one of five invitees from the Legends Tour, who needed just 30 shots for his front nine – including a run of three straight birdies – and then added two more birdies on his inward nine for an eight-under-par opening round.
“When I got to the golf course this morning and saw my friend and fellow Legends Tour player Clark Dennis at the top of the leaderboard, that was my motivation to get me going and play well,” said Morland IV.
“It’s great for the game of golf (to be playing against a younger field). If we can pass anything to them and they can learn anything from us, it’s great.”
That round has him a couple ahead of five players at six-under, including two-time Alps Tour winner Luca Cianchetti and his fellow Italian Edoardo R Lipperelli, with America’s Dennis alongside Yates and Hurley after a 67.
Despite back-to-back eagles on his scorecard, David Carey is two shots behind his fellow countrymen as a further four birdies and five bogeys – including four in six holes around the turn – saw him card a three-under 69.
Paul McBride is battling to make the cut after a one-under 71, with Luke Donnelly and James Sugrue also needing big second rounds to survive after each signed for a level-par 72, with Simon Bryan shooting a two-over 74.
Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!