Jordan Hood and Richard Knightly lead on -5, after the opening day of the Pierse Motors sponsored South of Ireland Championship.
The duo lead by one shot at the end of the opening day in Lahinch, where only 30 players ended the day under par.
Hood held the clubhouse lead for the majority of the day, after starting is round in the second group of the morning.
The Galgorm Castle golfer had eight birdies and three bogeys in an impressive round.
Knightly’s card was cleaner, with six birdies and a solitary bogey. The Royal Dublin golfer only bogeyed the 11th in an impressive round.
The duo lie one clear of East of Ireland champion Alex Maguire who recovered from a disappointing defence of his North of Ireland title last week (Laytown and Bettystown) and Connacht Stroke Play champion Rob Brazill (Naas).
A group of five lie on -3. North of Ireland champion Hugh Foley has continued his impressive form. He is joined in a tie for fifth by David Kitt (Athenry), Jake Foley (Elm Park), Joshua Robinson (Lisburn) and Lahinch’s Stephen Loftus.
16 players are on -2, including defending champion TJ Ford, Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open champion Colm Campbell and AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close champion Peter O’Keeffe.
Galway’s Liam Nolan has been knocking on the door with close shaves at both the Connacht and North and he enjoyed an eventful round. Links golf can be unpredictable at the best of times and it was a tale of two nines for the NUIG student who went out in 41 and came home in 31 with three birdies in a row on 12, 13, and 14 before landing a closing eagle on 18 for a level-par 72.
The players will play their second rounds on Thursday, with the top 64 advancing to the Match Play stages on Friday morning.
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