Fast starting Hurley takes route 66 in Brno

Mark McGowan

Gary Hurley (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Gary Hurley’s second-placed finish at last week’s Challenge de Cadiz saw the Waterford native pick up his highest ever tournament paycheque, so he was riding the crest of a wave when he arrived in the Brno, Czech Republic for the Kaskáda Golf Challenge.

A final-round 66 in Andalucía saw him fall one shy of getting a maiden victory on the Challenge Tour, but he started right where he left off as blitzed the opening nine at Kaskáda Golf Club, reeling off six birdies and making the turn in just 30 strokes.

He couldn’t keep the momentum going, however, and after reeling off eight successive pars, fell victim to the par-4 closer to record his first bogey of the day and slipped back to -5. Still, it was an excellent opening effort and sees him just outside the top 10 in tied 11th.

Ronan Mullarney has found the going tough since making the step up to Europe’s second tier this season, but there were signs of encouragement as he carded a three-under 68 to find himself in a tie for 30th after 18 holes. Starting on the 10th, he’d make just one par on his opening nine holes, trading five birdies with three bogeys before taking to the front side of the course.

The traditional outward loop was a lot less dramatic, but birdies at two and eight and a solitary bogey on five secured a satisfactory day’s work for the Galway man.

Mark Power is next best at -1, one ahead of Conor Purcell on level-par and were the cut to come after 18 holes instead of 36, the former would be through and the latter going home, so both men need to shoot red-figured rounds on day two if they are see weekend action.

Alex Maguire and Daniel Mulligan are locked together in a tie for 98th at +1, while John Murphy suffered a horror start to the tournament and will be playing for pride on day two as he’ll need a round in the low 60s to threaten the cutline.

Tomas Gouveia posted a sensational 10-under-par round of 61 to jump into a two-stroke lead at the end of day one.

The Portuguese fired eight birdies and an eagle without a bogey late on day one to lead by two shots from South African Bryce Easton and German Jannik de Bruyne on a low-scoring day in Brno.

The 29-year-old, who has struggled to find consistency through the opening 11 weeks on the Road to Mallorca, was delighted with all facets of his game on day one.

“I was able to put everything together which is something that I haven’t done this season,” he said. “When that happens, I know I can shoot low scores.

“Today it was that day where everything went well. I made some putts, hit the ball really close to the hole and I’m very happy to be in the position I’m in.

“If you look at my scores in the first rounds this year, they haven’t been great, so it’s a boost to put that score together today.

“My main focus was to get the bogeys and the mistakes out of the way because I’ve been making enough birdies this season to shoot a good round but just making a lot of bogeys. I was able to do that which was perfect.”


The Challenge Tour visits Ireland from August 1st – 4th at the K Club and CLICK HERE to secure your free tickets to the event where a host of Irish players including Conor Purcell, Gary Hurley, Mark Power, Ronan Mullarney and many more will be in action.

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