Jonathan Yates continued a run of good form with a positive opening round at the Memorial Giorgio Bordoni in Italy as he sits alongside Paul McBride three shots off the lead after both carded bogey-free four-under 66s at La Pinetina in Como.
The Naas man, who finished fifth last time out on the Alps Tour, signed for four birdies in a mistake-free outing on Wednesday to hold an early share of eighth, three shots back of Floris de Haas and Joel Moscatel at the top.
The Island’s McBride joined him on that score with a similarly flawless round, four birdies leaving him within touching distance of the lead after the first day’s action.
Like the Irish pair, Spain’s Moscatel was bogey-free to kick off his tournament as he opened with seven birdies in his round of 63, while Dutchman De Haas had an eagle and six birdies, as well as one bogey, to match him.
Their lead is just one shot from a quartet of Italians, with all four of Marco Archetti, Lorenzo Magini, Giacomo Fortini and Rocco Sanjust finishing with six-under 64s, with England’s Jack Floydd the only man to finish with a 65.
Gary Hurley is only a shot further back than his compatriots, and that was even with a double-bogey on the card at the par-five eighth, but five birdies and no more mistakes around that has him at three-under following a 67.
Three birdies but the same number of bogeys has David Carey tied for 65th at level-par and hovering around the cut mark, but there will need to be improvements from both Simon Bryan and Michael Young to secure a final round spot as both had three birdies but also six bogeys in a three-over 73 to sit tied-103rd.