Harry Gillivan said his putting held up well as he took the lead after Round 1 of the East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship in Baltray.
Co Louth Golf Club was the venue again this year and reigning champion Alex Maguire (Laytown and Bettystown) is only one stroke off the lead held by Gillivan, who is on -5.
The Portmarnock golfer is in good form heading into Day 2 and a 67 put him on top of the leaderboard in the blistering sun.
“I’ll just forget about today and start fresh. Make as many good swings as I can and see where it leads me tomorrow,” said Gillivan.
“I’m happy overall, I would definitely have taken it going out. I played nicely today, pretty steady. Only had the one dropped shot on the eighth hole, my second last hole.
“The course is super, probably the best I’ve ever seen it condition wise. The greens are unbelievable, if you’re putting well you know you are going to make a few birdies, so that’s what I did today, rolled in a few.”
Maguire was one of the early clubhouse leaders on Saturday. He carded a couple of birdies on the front nine and again on the back nine for a 68 and -4 overall.
But he was joined by Lee O’Meara (Tullamore), Shane McDermott (Slieve Russell) and Ross Latimer (Clandeboye) who all finished T2 on Saturday evening.
Nevertheless, Gillivan is the man they all have to catch, he had an eagle his 11th hole and although a bogey followed on his penultimate hole, he had done enough with four early birdies on the front nine.
There are 34 players under par after Day 1 of this year’s renewal and with more perfect conditions for golf promised tomorrow, the holder is confident he can remain competitive.
“I’m pretty pleased, definitely off to a better start than last year. I hit it pretty well off the tees, I hit it very nicely into the greens. Missed a few putts on the way in but overall very happy,” said Maguire.
“It’s my second time defending a title, the first time didn’t go very well because my expectations went through the roof but I feel comfortable out here.
“I am not going to change my gameplan going forward, I’m just going to go out there and have a bit of fun and then see where that leaves me on Monday night.”