Paul Dunne made the most of his four remaining holes to card an eight-under par 64 after the first round of the rain-affected Houston Open was completed.
Dunne, 25 had moved to six-under par through 15 holes on Thursday when poor light halted play just after 7.30pm local time after the tournament was delayed at the start of play by two hours due to heavy overnight rain.
When play resumed at 7.20am Friday local time the reigning British Masters champion holed a 30-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th hole to join the clubhouse leading duo of Lucas Glover and Kevin Tway at seven-under par.
Dunne then took the lead and moving to eight-under par in holing a 13-footer at the par-4 17th before missing the green right at the last only to send a superb chip shot to three-feet from where he holed the par putt.
The Greystones man secured his place into the event after finishing top-10 in last week’s Corales Championship in the Dominican Republic.
It is Dunne’s lowest score this year, a short fewer than a 65 on day three of January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the UAE.
“I’m really pleased as I was playing really well late yesterday and it was only that it started getting dark we had to end play,” he said.
“It can always be different then in the returning to the course the next day and trying to continue that form but I did in managing to hole a great birdie on 16 and then to also birdie 17 was great.
“I did leave myself a tricky chip shot on 18 but the ball came out nicely so it delighted to finish with a 64.
“If you keep it on the fairways then the golf course is very much for the taking.”
Dunne had only a 30-minute break between rounds ahead of teeing-off in his second round but played down his chances of securing the last invitation into next week’s Masters.
“I can’t be thinking of the Masters,” he said.
“I was delighted to have qualified for this event in finishing fifth last week in the Dominican Republic and all I am focused on is doing well this week.
“I got into last week thanks to an invitation, so it’s all about making the most of my now limited opportunities in the goal of securing my full PGA Tour card.
“I’m just enjoying the competition, so we’ll see how it pans out this week.”
Round two is currently underway.