Kate Dwyer is just one shot off the early lead at the R&A Student Tour Series Portugal in Troia Golf Club.
Dwyer is in a share of second place with Sweden’s Elice Fredriksson on three-over after rounds of 75 while regular Student Series winner Lorna McClymont leads on two-over-par.
Both Dwyer and Fredriksson bogeyed the 18th to fall out of a share of the lead with McClymont but all three players endured tough finishes, dropping shots down the closing stretch.
In what is sure to be the most demanding and challenging event on the rota in 2023, Dwyer was cruising at one-under through twelve holes after opening her back nine with two birdies in three holes having turned in one-over 37.
The Irish Intervarsities like most, found the closing five holes a difficult task, dropping four shots on her way home including two of the par fives.
Irish Women’s Amateur Open champion McClymont dropped four in her last six having just reeled off three successive birdies while Fredriksson dropped three shots in her last four holes.
Maynooth Univserity Golf Programme Co-Ordinator Barry Fennelly was pleased to see Dwyer’s hard work over the winter pay off.
“Very solid round from Kate, she’s playing very well. She has put a significant amount of work in over the preseason with all the coaches at the academy, she has been excellent and I’m delighted to see she is being rewarded for her hard work.
“Only day one and anything can happen, can’t win it on day one so very steady round from Kate. Very demanding golf course, very penal, very fast greens, anything around par is a great score. So a very good start for Kate.”
Kate Lanigan of the Hermitage is six shots back on eight-over after an 80 and remarkably she played the last four holes in one-under-par with her only birdie arriving on the par-4 15th.
Had it not been for front nine double bogeys on 2 and 8, she would be right in the mix. Annabel Graham is on seventeen-over.
In the men’s section Dundalk’s Eoin Murphy came home in a superb 33 to salvage a two-over 74 and lie just two shots off the first round lead.
“Eoin Murphy was our best today. He had a rough front nine but fair play to him, he really bounced back and grinned out three-under on the back nine which was great golf. It looks like he will be two or three back of the lead.”
Fellow Maynooth student Simon Walker and Ronan McCrory are a shot further back on three-over while Eoin Sullivan and Liam Atom are on five-over after rounds of 77.
“Simon was very steady today, the challenge today is just keeping the big numbers off the card and that’s what killed a few of our lads cards.”
West of Ireland champion Alan Fahy is six-over after a 78 as are Annraoi Collins and Allan Hill with the latter dropping six shots in his last six holes including two closing doubles.
Maynooth student Ryan Griffin turned in level-par but endured a nightmarish back nine of 44 to lie on plus eight alongside Ewan McArthur while Aaron Marshall is on nine-over.
Evan Shipp is back on thirteen-over alongside Samuel Gammell and David Muldowney, Sean O’Connell is +21.
“Allan Hill played very well today but just finished with two double bogeys, Ryan Griffin had a very solid front nine and posted plus eight and the golf course can do that to you if you go out of position. It’s a really tough test.
“Overall on the men’s side a couple of big numbers cost some of our guys but there was a lot of good golf there.”