Ronan Mullarney lies just two shots off the lead after the opening day of the IFX Payments Championship on the PGA EuroPro Tour after a six-under 67 in his first round at Studley Wood in Oxfordshire.
The Galway man carded eight birdies – including back-to-back to finish his round – and two bogeys to lie a couple of strokes off the lead held by Taylor Carter, Sean Lawrie and Billy Hemstock.
The trio were all bogey-free on day one as English pair Carter and Hemstock both fired six birdies and an eagle each, while Lawrie posted eight birdies to join them in the lead, with Joshua McMahon and David Wicks a further shot back.
It was also a good day for Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan and Warrenpoint’s John-Ross Galbraith as they finished the day with five-under 68s at Studley Wood to lie just outside the top-10, with Grehan bogey-free and Galbraith signing for seven birdies and two bogeys.
Daniel Brennan is the only other Irishman sitting inside the cut line as it stands as he posted six birdies – including four-in-a-row around the turn – and two bogeys in a four-under 69 to sit in a share of 22nd.
PGA Catalunya’s Luke Donnelly will need a good second round on Thursday to make Friday’s final round after his promising start, which saw him birdie his first two holes, was undone by two bogeys, with a closing birdie seeing him shoot a one-under 72 that has him tied-83rd.
Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy and Youghal’s Conor Coyne will need something special to make the cut, though, after both opened their tournaments with four-over 77s.