Work to do for promotion hopefuls on Challenge Tour

Ronan MacNamara

Ruaidhri McGee (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Day one of the Hopps Open de Provence in France can only get better from an Irish point of view with nobody under par after the opening round.

Ruaidhri McGee leads the charge on level-par while Tom McKibbin and John Murphy saw their promotion hopes stall after the first 18 in Golf International de Pont Royal.

Holywood teenager McKibbin is on one-over after a 73 which has seen him drop from 14th to 15th in the projected Road to Mallorca standings – with the top-20 securing DP World Tour cards next season.

The 19-year-old doubled his fourth hole the par-3 13th but did respond with a birdie on the par-5 14th.

A birdie on the par-5 4th brought the Northern Irishman back to par but a bogey on his penultimate hole dropped him eight shots off the pace.

Kinsale’s Murphy is a shot further back after a 74 which included three dropped shots and a lone birdie on the 9th on a day where momentum was hard to come by.

The 24-year-old has work to do to get back into the promotion picture having dropped from 30th to 37th in the projected standings.

McGee himself has seen his own promotion bid stall in recent weeks and he thew in an eventful opening effort of 72.

It was all plain sailing for the Rosapenna man who breezed to the turn in 34 with birdies on the 5th and 8th.

Three dropped shots in two holes put him back the wrong side of par as he followed McKibbin’s lead with a five on 13 but compounded it with a bogey on 14.

A welcome birdie on 18 steadied the ship heading into Friday and he lies in a share of 45th place.

Gavin Moynihan, Paul Dunne and Conor Purcell are also two-over.

The lead is held by Jens Fahrbring who shot an eight birdie round of seven-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into round two.

Scoring HERE

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