Conditions were ripe for scoring at Co Louth as 22 players ended the day in red figures.
At the summit, four players are tied on three under – David Foy, Alan Lowry, Jack Pierse and Colin Woodroofe producing fine rounds of 69.
All four members of the leading group took to the links early and made the most of benign conditions at Baltray. Defending champion Paul O’Hanlon threatened to eclipse them all in the afternoon, making five birdies in his first six holes, but the title-holder had to settle for a 71 as he dropped four shots after that blistering start.
Portmarnock’s Jack Pierse, beaten finalist at this year’s West of Ireland, was the early pacesetter at Baltray. Pierse began birdie-eagle, then birdied the fourth to take the lead outright.
Having begun at a relentless pace, Pierse stumbled through the turn, losing shots at eight and 11 as well as running up a double bogey at 10. He recovered in time to make amends coming home, and with three birdies in his last five holes, his rollercoaster round did not leave him dizzy. At the head of affairs, Pierse has David Foy, Alan Lowry and Colin Woodroofe for company. Foy had four birdies in succession from the second (his 11th) to get to four under but a bogey at seven moved him back into the pack.
Lowry, prominent at the East in 2015 when also beginning with 69, began his round on the back nine with a bogey at the 10th but it was by no means a bad omen. His fifth birdie of the day came at the eighth – his penultimate hole – and ensured his place among the leading group. After a level par front nine, Woodroofe was bogey-free from the 10th and picked up three shots on the way in to claim his share of the lead.
Four more players are grouped together on minus two – John Hickey, Des Morgan, Cian Geraghty and Daniel Holland. Last year’s winner Paul O’Hanlon is one shot further back among a group of 14 players at one under. 2005 champion Jim Carvill is alongside O’Hanlon after carding a 71.
East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship
Friday 2 June 2017
Scores after Round 1
69 D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown); A Lowry (Esker Hills); J Pierse (Portmarnock); C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire)
70 J Hickey (Cork); D Morgan (Carton House); C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown); D Holland (Castle)
71 B MURRAY (Waterford Castle); P O’Hanlon (Carton House); G O’Flaherty (Cork); C Denvir (Elm Park); A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud); R Black (Hilton Templepatrick); R Moran (Castle); P Murray (Clontarf); P Coughlan (Moate); S O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle); M Power (Kilkenny); G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick); G Carr (Mullingar); J Carvill (Banbridge)
72 J Whelan (Newlands); P KERR (Royal Portrush); G Collins (Rosslare); G Lappin (Belvoir Park); L Donnelly (Kilkenny); R Kelly (Tuam); J Greene (Portmarnock); J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little); R Brazill (Naas); S FLANAGAN (Co. Sligo); A Hickey (Ballyhaunis); S Cullen (Slieve Russell); M Nolan (Delgany); D Coghlan (Portmarnock); J MURPHY (Kinsale); R Pierse (Grange)
73 G Mungovan (Headfort); J KNIPE (Royal Portrush); S Bleakley (Shandon Park); B Anderson (The Royal Dublin); M O’Rourke (Royal Tara); R Cannon (Balbriggan); E Farrell (Ardee); G Ward (Kinsale); R Berkeley (Dun Laoghaire); M Kennelly (Athenry); K Murphy (Charlesland); T McLarnon (Massereene); M Looby (Greystones)
74 C BUTLER (Kinsale); J Sugrue (Mallow); J Walsh (Castle); C O’CONNOR (Corrstown); M Norton (Belvoir Park); S GARRETT (Portstewart); E Leonard (Wentworth/Killiney); C Rafferty (Dundalk); P O’Brien (Co. Louth); S Doyle (The Island); R KNIGHTLY (The Royal Dublin); D Brennan (Shannon); A HILL (Athenry); S Sweeney (USA); R Dutton (Tandragee); T Ford (Co. Sligo); Z Glynn (Bray); A Myles (Newlands); M MORRISSEY (Co. Sligo)
75 R Williamson (Holywood); J Fletcher (Warrenpoint); G Lenehan (Portmarnock); E Griffin (Waterford); K McCarron (North West); M MCKINSTRY (Cairndhu); S Healy (The Royal Dublin); W Small (Tandragee); D Brophy (castleknock); K LeBlanc (island); R Neville (The Links Portmarnock); L Grehan (Mullingar)
76 G Smyth (Clonmel); D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh); C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire); D Morley (Oughterard); G McDermott (Carton House); M Boucher (Carton House); R Hynes (The Royal Dublin); T Collins (Dun Laoghaire); N Grant (Shandon Park); S Greenberg (Tandragee)
77 P Murphy (Rosslare); C Raymond (Newlands); A DOWLING (Hermitage); J McVicker (Knock Golf Club); G Bohill (Co. Louth); M FITZSIMONS (Ardglass); J Brady (Rosslare); D REIDY (Co. Sligo); G Dunne (Co. Louth); S Carter (The Royal Dublin); A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown)
78 A Grant (Dundalk); D Crawford (Bundoran); J McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown); C Nolan (Galway); S McGlynn (Portmarnock); H Foley (The Royal Dublin); M KANE (Larne); J Doherty (Carton House); T Hackett (The Royal Dublin); C Kelly (USA)
79 M Shanahan (Castlemartyr); S Kinch (Hollystown); W Russell (Clandeboye); C Dullaghan (Greenore); I Lynch (Rosslare); S Desmond (Monkstown)
80 P Carey (Nenagh); E Smith (Laytown & Bettystown); E Murphy (Dundalk)
81 D O’Neill (Carton House); D Coyle (Portmarnock)
82 D Smith (Castle); G MCGRANE (The Royal Dublin); D BRADY (Co. Sligo); P O’Sullivan (Old Conna); J FOX (Portmarnock)
84 S Mc Dermott (Co. Cavan); A Doran (Ardee)
RTD R McKinstry (Cairndhu)
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