Gary Hurley got off to a strong start at the Castelconturbia Alps Open as he looks to wrap up a top-five spot on the Alps Tour Order of Merit before the season-ending Tour Championship.
The Irishman is currently fifth on the season standings, with only the top-five earning their Challenge Tour cards for next season, with this the last regular season event.
However, Hurley is off to a positive start as he signed for a five-under 67 in his opening round at Golf Club Castelconcurdia to sit just outside the top-five on the leaderboard.
He is four shots off leader Gregorio de Leo, who already has Challenge Tour status secured having won three times on Tour, but the Italian is keen on locking down top spot on the Order of Merit.
De Leo opened with nine birdies in a bogey-free 63 to hold the early advantage at nine-under-par, two shots ahead of France’s Augustin Hole and Austria’s Daniel Hebenstreit, who both fired seven-under 65s.
Naas’ Jonathan Yates – who is not out of the running for the top-five on the Order of Merit in 19th – began his tournament with a two-under 70 to hold a share of 19th for the week, too.
Meanwhile, Paul McBride and James Sugrue both carded one-under 71s to kick off their weeks.