Tramore’s Robin Dawson got off to the perfect start at the Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland as he fired a record equaling 64 to take a three-stroke lead after the first qualifying round at Rosses Point.
Dawson dropped just one stroke for the day as he carded an eagle and six birdies in a seven-under-par round.
The record score is even more impressive as only ten players in the 126-strong field broke par as the Co Sligo links showed its teeth.
Dawson admitted he was struggling to find a groove on the eve of the event during practice, but a good range session was the order of the evening “I actually played so badly in practice yesterday that I went to the range because I had no idea what was going on. But I found something this morning and away I went. I was nice to get a round under my belt.”
Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell and Irish Boys Champion Mark Power sit behind Dawson tied for second after both carded four under 67s. The 2016 champion Jonathan Yates and Kyle McCarron posted 68s to sit in a tie for fourth.
The leading 64 players after today’s second round will qualify for the first round of match play tomorrow.
First round Scores
64 R Dawson (Tramore);
67 J McDonnell (Forrest Little), M Power (Kilkenny);
68 J Yates (Naas), K McCarron (North West);
70 P McKeever (Castle), G Collins (Rosslare), T O’Connor (Athlone), C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown), J Greene (Portmarnock);
71 P Connolly (Killeen Castle), C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire), J McCarthy (Stackstown), R McKinstry (Cairndhu), R Black (Hilton Templepatrick), R O’Doherty (Enniscrone), B Anderson (The Royal Dublin);
72 A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown), F Carr (Kirkistown Castle), J Walsh (Castle), A McCormack (Castletroy), T McLarnon (Massereene), G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick), M Kennedy (The Royal Dublin), S Flanagan (Co. Sligo), R Brazill (Naas), L O’Neill (Connemara), D Morgan (Carton House), D Kitt (Athenry), G McDermott (Carton House), G Dunne (Co. Louth);
73 R Moran (Castle), C Dawson (Tramore), G Smyth (Clonmel), J Hapgood (Southerndown), A Kearney (Castlerock), R O’Connor (Co. Sligo), P O’ Keeffe (Douglas), M Ryan (New Ross), T Ford (Co. Sligo), J Madden (Royal Portrush), C Denvir (Elm Park), F Kennedy (The Island), J Whelan (Newlands), W Russell (Clandeboye), J Fox (Portmarnock), J Fletcher (Warrenpoint), A Gleeson (Castle);
74 C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire), H Gillivan (Westport), M Sinclair (Knock), J Quinn (The Island), S Desmond (Monkstown), J Pierse (Portmarnock), D Mallon (Dungannon), W Small (Tandragee), B Best (Rathmore), J Byrne (Baltinglass), A Marshall (Lisburn);
75 N Hearns (Mountrath), S Carter (The Royal Dublin), E Farrell (Ardee), N McGrane (The Royal Dublin), R Knightly (The Royal Dublin), K Egan (Carton House), H Foley (The Royal Dublin), T Neenan (Lahinch), A Hill (Athenry), N Crawford (Mourne), M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire), A Lowry (Esker Hills), A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud), E McCormack (Galway Bay), S Cullen (Slieve Russell), J Logue (Hilton Templepatrick);
76 R Pierse (Grange), P O’Hanlon (Carton house ), R Williamson (Holywood), J Lyons (Galway), R McNeilis (Fintona), J Blake (The Island), D Brophy (Castleknock), R Hynes (The Royal Dublin), G Copeland (Ardglass);
77 B Shally (Dromoland), S Ryan (The Royal Dublin), I Kettyle (Rathmore ), D McAleenon (Edenmore), M Shiel (Galway Bay), K McCormack (Portarlington), J Brady (Rosslare), S Barker (Mourne), J Knipe (Royal Portrush ), J Doherty (Carton House), J Timlin (Dungannon), T Coffey (Slieve Russell), S Mc Dermott (Co. Cavan);
78 G Lenehan (Portmarnock), R Berkeley (Dun Laoghaire), D Brady (Co. Sligo), M Morrissey (Co. Sligo), C Daly (Castletroy), R Kelly (Galway Bay), S O’Connor (Castlebar), O Maguire (Slieve Russell), P Murray (Clontarf);
79 P Coughlan (Castleknock), P Kelly (Co. Armagh), G McGrane (The Royal Dublin), M Kennelly (Galway Bay), J O’Leary (Dromoland), P Buckley (Memorial (Tx) USA), J McVicker (Knock), S Underwood (Co. Sligo);
80 A Gaynor (Co. Sligo), A Hickey (Ballyhaunis), S Carter (The Heritage), G McKenna (Donaghadee);
81 B Daly (Edmondstown), C Feeney (Co. Sligo), M Looby (Greystones);
82 J Murphy (Greenore), D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh);
83 S Garrett (Portstewart);
84 D O’Neill (Carton House), P Flynn (Tramore).