David Carey and Gary Hurley are just one shot off the early lead in the Alps de Andalucia on the Alps Tour after sublime rounds of 67 at the Valle Guadiana Links in Spain.
Carey of Darwin Escapes and Waterford’s Hurley are in a share of third place on five-under-par as Italy’s Giacomo Fortini and Spaniard Sergio Parriego lead the way on six-under.
It was a blemish free round for Carey who carded five birdies while Hurley finished strongly to join him on five-under.
Carey started quickly and breezed to the turn in 34 after birdies on the first and fourth. A third birdie of the day on the tenth was followed by a brace of closing gains to propel himself up the leaderboard and into contention.
The Irishman has a fourth and a third-place finish in his previous two starts on the Alps Tour and he is in great form ahead of Final Qualifying for the 150th Open Championship.
Hurley has also been in great form of late with a fifth place finish last week moving him up to 13th in the Order of Merit.
The Saadiyat Beach ambassador carded four birdies and an eagle with his only dropped shot coming on the par-3 12th.
The former Walker Cup player picked up three shots in two holes with a birdie on seven and an eagle three on the 8th to turn in 33 before birdies on 13 and 15 and 18 saw him recover from the bogey on 12.
Naas golfer Jonathan Yates has work to do to make the cut from four-over after an opening 76.
Overall, it was a day of low scoring in Spain with as many as 52 players shooting under-par to lie within five of the lead with 36 to play.