Moynihan leads the Irish challenge after a difficult opening day in Egypt

Mark McGowan

Gavin Moynihan (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Gavin Moynihan fired a one-over-par 71 in testing conditions at the first round of the MENA Tour’s season-opening Egyptian Swing event at Madinaty Golf Club, positioning the Dubliner inside the top-10 and best placed of the Irish contenders, of whom there are six in the field.

Making his first tour start of 2023, Moynihan began his round on the back nine, posting seven successive pars to start before making birdie at the par-5 17th. He followed that with another at the first, but quickly gave that back, and a double-bogey at the sixth pushed him out to +1, before he parred home from there.

One shot further back is Malahide’s Paul McBride, whose two-over round of 73 was good for T11 on a day where just three players broke par and 29 strokes covered the 117-man field.

McBride got off to a slow start, bogeying the opening three holes, but responded with a birdie at the 16th – his seventh hole – and made the turn at +2. Two more bogeys followed at one and two, but he answered those with birdies at six and eight to shoot level par for his closing nine and sign for +2.

Conor O’Rourke from Naas shot 74 to finish day one in a tie for 20th place, one stroke behind McBride, with Shannon’s Daniel Brennan and France-based Kerryman Michael Young both posting 76 to lie T48. Waterford’s Robin Dawson had a frustrating first day, signing for an eight-over 79.

The early pace is being set by Englishmen Curtis Knipes and Ben Jones at -3, a shot ahead of Sweden’s Johannes Axell, and the trio were the only players to break par on a difficult day in Egypt that saw 23 competitors fail to break 80.


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