In his first Challenge Tour start in a year, Ireland’s Tyler Hogarty sits just a shot off the lead after the opening round at the British Challenge presented by Modest! Golf Management.
The 30-year-old hasn’t made an appearance on the second-tier tour since this event last year, but he started superbly at St Mellion Estate in Cornwall with a four-under 68.
That leaves him just a single stroke off the leading pair, with Steven Tiley and Simon Forsström setting the early pace with a pair of five-under 67s in England.
But Hogarty is well placed as he finished his opening round with three straight birdies – three of six in his round – which, along with two bogeys, has him in a share of third after day one.
In his home event, England’s Tiley also signed for six birdies in his first round but only had one bogey, while Sweden’s Forsström beat his birdie count by one, but also had an additional bogey.
“I played nicely today,” said Tiley. “It’s a tough course where you have to keep it in play, and I think that suits my game. We had good conditions today and I’m very happy with my round.
“I hit it pretty straight and try to keep the ball in play. The par fives aren’t reachable in two shots because they’re so narrow and everyone is laying up to the same spot with 100 yards left in. My wedge game has always been strong so I feel I can utilise that this week.
“There were times where I got lucky today. On the second hole I pulled it left and managed to save par but overall, I hit some great shots and got rewarded for that.”
Tiley has been in impressive form with two top five finishes in his last four starts on the Road to Mallorca and admits a change in his mental approach has enabled him to produce his best golf in recent weeks.
“I have been getting into the right mindset recently,” he said. “Over the last month I have been trying to enjoy my golf a little bit more, building up my social media profile and giving some online lessons. This has relaxed me a lot and given me a source of income away from tournament golf.”
Hogarty is joined by four other players at four-under-par just a shot behind, with Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell leading the charge a shot further back after a three-under 69.
The 25-year-old parred his first nine holes of his round before finally kicking into life on the back nine, five birdies and two bogeys leading to a solid opening performance to have him in a tie for eighth.
Holywood’s Tom McKibbin struggled, meanwhile, as three birdies and five bogeys resulted in a two-over 74 that has him on the cut line at tied-63rd following the opening day.
Kinsale’s John Murphy is a shot further back after a three-over 75 – thanks to two birdies and five bogeys – while Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee limped to a six-over 78 after one birdie and seven bogeys.