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Sugrue flies the GUI banner out in front at SA Strokeplay

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 James Sugrue / Image from Cashman Photography

James Sugrue was the pick of the Irish bunch after firing a superb five-under par 67 on day one of the South African Amateur Strokeplay at De Zalze Golf Club.

The Mallow amateur finds himself just one stroke off the lead in a share of 4th spot in the 72-hole strokeplay event after carding seven birdies in a stunning opening salvo.

That sets a high standard from Ireland’s perspective with Naas man, Robert Brazill next best in a share of 10th spot on two-under.

Brazill captured the game of golf in its truest form as he went from the towering emotional heights of an ace at the par-3 16thto the depths of despair with an eight at the par-5 17th! All-up, a 70 remained a solid start for the Kildare man.

The trio of Galway’s Ronan Mullarney, Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell and Kilkenny’s Mark Power also started well as they signed for a one-under 71 apiece to share 19thheading into day two.

Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon and Balbriggan’s Robbie Cannon returned to the clubhouse unharmed at level-par and in a share of 34thwhile Dundalk’s Caolon Rafferty, who lost out in the semi-finals of the matchplay last week, returned an opening 76, two shots better than the Castle’s Alex Gleeson who’s yet to find his best stuff this term.

Castle’s Peter McKeever returned a one-over par 73 to start.

Last week’s SA Amateur championship number one seed in the strokeplay, Luca Filippi leads the way at six-under par alongside Scottish players, Euan Walker and Kieran Cantley.

GUI Squad: Robert Brazill (Naas), Robert Cannon (Balbriggan), Alex Gleeson (Castle), Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene), Ronan Mullarney (Galway), Mark Power (Kilkenny), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), James Sugrue (Mallow).

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