Damian Mooney is best placed of the four Irish contestants after the opening round of Legends Tour Qualifying Final Stage at Gloria Golf Club in Turkey.
The Lough Erne pro birdied two of his final three holes to shoot a one-under 71 that leaves him in a tie for ninth with 54 holes to go. After trading a single birdie and single bogey on the New Course’s back nine – he started on the 10th – he birdied the first but then made back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes, but the strong finish has him well-placed to challenge for one of five cards on offer for the five leading qualifiers.
David Higgins is just one shot behind Mooney on level-par. The Waterville Irish PGA Champion twice got into red figures but gave the shot back on each occasion before reeling off 10 straight pars to card a 72 that leaves him tied for 16th.
Keith Coveney, who has taken over as Head Coach for the Turkish National side having spent the last few years in Frankfurt, is one further adrift at one-over. A double-bogey, bogey start to the back nine threatened to derail Coveney’s round, but he rebounded to shoot one-under on the remaining holes to add to his one-under front nine tally to remain in the hunt at +1, four back of fifth.
Gary Murphy, at five-over, has given himself a mountain to climb if he’s to play his way into contention. The K Club Head Pro looked to have weathered the storm after bogeying three of his opening five holes, but a double-bogey at the par-5 18th proved costly.
Englishman Chris Gane is in pole position at -6, two clear of fellow countrymen Peter Wilson and Van Phillips, with France’s Lionel Alexandre joining the leading chasers at -4.
There is a three-way tie for fifth, in the final qualifying position.