Moran and McBride start well at Alps Tour season-opener

Mark McGowan

Robert Moran (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Robert Moran and Paul McBride have stated best of the six Irish in the field at the Elin Bay Open, the season-opening event of the 2024 Alps Tour season in Egypt.

Making his professional debut after a stellar final year as an amateur that saw him capture the Irish Close Championship in thrilling fashion at Malone Golf Club and come desperately close to a Close-North double, losing the latter on countback, the Castle star was the leading Irish qualifier at Alps Tour Q-School last November. And he’s taken to the pro ranks well, birdieing four with two bogeys to end day one at -2.

Fellow Dubliner McBride, who came desperately close to graduating to the Challenge Tour last year opened in similar fashion, making just a single bogey and chipping in with three birdies to join Moran in the clubhouse at -2, tied for 23rd.

McBride is targeting a fast start to the season having found himself with a little too much to do, too late in the season last year, but knows the formula for success having watched fellow countryman Ronan Mullarney progress and take the Alps Tour Order of Merit title last season.

Both Paul Murphy and AJ McCabe shot level-par opening rounds, while Marc Boucher and Brandon St. John, also making their professional debuts, struggled to rounds of three and six-over respectively.

Italian duo Federico Livio and Jacopo Vecchi Fossa set the early pace with rounds of -6 on the par-72 Sokhna Golf Club in Suez, while a further two countrymen are among the eight tied for third two shots back. That octet also includes a Spaniard, a Scot, a Dutchman and two Frenchmen, with a further dozen between Moran and McBride and the top 10 on what is proving to be a very bunched leaderboard after the first of three rounds.


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