Hill one shot off the pace as Irish start well in South African Strokeplay

Ronan MacNamara

Josh Hill (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Galgorm Castle’s Josh Hill finds himself just one shot off the lead after the opening round of the South African Amateur Strokeplay Championship in Mount Edgecombe Country Club and Estate.

Hill shot a four-under-par 68 to lie in a share of second place with highly rated French amateur Martin Couvra as Walker Cup squad member Matthew Wilson leads on five-under after a 67.

The Mullingar Scratch Cup winner burst out of the traps with a brace of opening birdies before a birdie on the par-5 6th followed up a dropped shot on the previous hole.

The highlight of the day for Hill was an eagle on the par-5 9th before a bogey, birdie start to his back nine was followed by seven successive pars to close out his day.

It was a really encouraging start to the tournament for the Irish with four players inside the top-6 after the first day’s play.

Connacht Strokeplay champion Rob Brazill of Naas is on three-under alongside US Mid-Am champion Matthew McClean after a pair of 69s.

Brazill carded six birdies, a bogey and a double bogey while Malone’s McClean also had an eventful first round going the first five holes without a par courtesy of three birdies, a bogey and a double.

The Augusta bound amateur soon went on a nice run with birdies on 8, 13 and 14 before a dropped shot on 16 was cancelled out by a birdie on 18.

Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley is in a share of 6th place on two-under after the North and South of Ireland winner carded two birdies, an eagle and a double bogey seven in an otherwise solid round of 70.

His club mate Richard Knightly is on one-over after a 73 to lie in 34th place while Rob Moran, Peter O’Keeffe and Jack McDonnell are a shot further back in 51st place.

Carton House golfer Marc Boucher is in 62nd place on three-over-par.

Scoring HERE

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