Liam Nolan is just three shots off the lead after the opening round of the Brabazon Trophy.
The Galway native shot a three-under 68 to move into fifth place as England’s Arron Edwards-Hill and South Africa’s Christiaan Maas ended the day in a share of the lead on six-under after a pair of 65s.
It was a promising day for the Irish with five players inside the top-30 after round one including Irish Amateur Championship runner-up Matthew McClean on one-under.
Nolan who had a disappointing campaign at the Island last week by his lofty standards put that behind him and a stunning back nine helped him into early contention.
The NUIG student went birdie, eagle on holes fourteen and fifteen to come home in 32 and turn a decent day into a great one.
The 22-year-old turned in level-par after dropped shots on the first and seventh were cancelled out by birdies on 2 and 8.
McClean is just two shots further back after an opening 70. It was an eventful round for the Malone golfer who traded five birdies and four bogeys on his way around.
The Irish international was cruising at three-under through seven before back-to-back bogeys saw him turn in 35.
Birdies on 11 and 15 saw him return to minus three before a brace of bogeys on 16 and 17 dropped him back to a share of 13th and five shots off the pace.
Castle’s Robert Moran who was in the final group over the weekend at the Island is on level-par after an opening 71 while a chastening finish saw Marc Boucher drop three shots late on in his round as he signed for a level-par 71.
The Carton House golfer doubled the 16th and bogeyed the 17th to put paid to all his great work earlier in the round.
Boucher got off to an electric start with an eagle on the second and he followed that with birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth and fifteenth but also threw in three further bogeys.
Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley snuck into the top-30 on one-over after a 72 while TJ Ford is a shot further back in a share of 51st.
It was a tough day for Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell who carded a five-over 76 while West of Ireland champion Alan Fahy is also on that number after the first 18.