Dermot McElroy picked up where he left off last season on the PGA EuroPro Tour as he started the 2022 season with a five-under 67 at the Cubefunder Championship to sit one off the early lead at Harleyford Golf Club.
The Ballymena man agonisingly missed out on promotion to the Challenge Tour by one place on the Order of Merit after an unlikely set of results contrived to knock him out of the top-five at the Tour Championship.
But he looks to have shaken off that disappointment and got straight back on the horse in England with six birdies and one bogey in his 67 – with two of those birdies coming in his final two holes – to sit one shot off leader Will Enefer after day one.
The Englishman had seven birdies and one bogey in an opening six-under 66 to lead the way by one stroke, with Matty Lamb and James Allan in a share of second alongside McElroy at the close of play.
Another Northern Irishman, Whitehead’s John-Ross Galbraith, is the next best of the local contingent as he bounced back well from two bogeys on his front-nine with four birdies and another bogey to finish the day with a one-under 71 to sit in a share of 30th.
But beyond that there was little to celebrate as the remaining eight players all sit outside the cut line as it stands, with two-over the score of the day as all four of Galway’s Ronan Mullarney, Daniel Brennan, Chris Carroll and Harleyford’s Ignatius McGuinness carded 74s to tie for 83rd.
Further down the leaderboard Dundalk’s Daniel Mulligan, PGA Catalunya’s Luke Donnelly and Youghal’s Conor Coyne all finished the day at three-over-par after a pair of 75s, with Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan needing a big second round to make the final day after a five-over 77.