Gavin Moynihan delivered new sponsor CarsIreland.ie a very timely first tournament headline with a three-under par 69 on the opening day of the Oman Open.
Gavin Moynihan sporting his new sponsor logo
Moynihan is wearing the CarsIreland.ie logo on his shirt and produced four inward half birdies in ideal scoring conditions on the Greg Norman designed Al Mouj course in Muscat.
It left the 24-year old Dubliner in a share of 11th spot heading into day two of the European Tour’s fourth Middle East event of the new season.
The start punctuates and already good week for The Island product as Moynihan’s ISM team announced on the eve of the event his new attachment with CarsIreland.ie
Moynihan had turned professional after helping Great Britain and Ireland to a Walker Cup victory over the United States in 2015. He collected his first professional win at The Lookers Championship in 2017 and then shot a final round of 64 to finish 14th at the Irish Open at Portstewart the same year.
Moynihan grabbed the headlines once again in May last year when, alongside Paul Dunne, he helped Ireland to the Golf Sixes title.
This year he is hoping to continue to establish himself on the European Tour and is delighted to be representing CarsIreland.ie. starting at this week’s Oman Open.
Moynihan said: “I’m really grateful for the support from CarsIreland.ie and I’m looking forward to working alongside them.
“It means a lot to be sponsored by a company that is doing so well in Ireland and beyond and I’m very proud to be representing them around the world.”
Wholly Irish-owned company CarsIreland.ie was first established in 2008 and operates an award-winning sales platform with over half a million unique users each month, as well as providing bespoke website and IT solutions with the Irish motor industry.
CarsIreland.ie Chief Commercial Officer Gerard Toher said: “We see ourselves as an exciting, growing brand that mirrors Gavin’s quest to establish himself as a leading player on the European and world scene.
“We also believe strongly in supporting young and up and coming Irish talent that mirrors the determination and values that CarsIreland.ie is always striving to display within its own industry.”
Back to the golf and Moynihan’s GolfSixes partner, Dunne, endured a tricky opening to his Oman debut. Dunne slumped to a two-over par 74 and will have work to do on Friday to ensure safe passage into the weekend’s play.
At the top of the pack, Kurt Kitayama had no such worries as he carded a six-under par round of 66 to lead after the first round at Al Mouj Golf.
The American, who earned his card for 2019 at Qualifying School and then won his first title in just his third European Tour start at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita, parred the first five holes and then birdied the sixth and eighth holes to make the turn two-under par.
He then birdied the 11th and eagled the 12th to join early pace-setters Scott Jamieson and Yusaku Miyazato on five-under par before taking the outright lead with his fourth birdie of the day on the 16th hole.
“I’m delighted with that,” he said. “Conditions were pretty tough, so to be bogey free was really good. My putting was great, I had great speed. I had a great putt on 17 from 60 feet to leave a tap-in. Then my last putt over a ridge was great. I made a few putts outside ten feet so that was really nice.
“On 11 I drained a 40-footer. Hit a great second into the 12th, giving myself 15 feet and I was able to drain that. I got a little lucky out there. I made quite a few putts, so hopefully I can do that tomorrow too. Hopefully we can take advantage of some calmer weather in the morning.”
Seven golfers share fourth place on four under par, including Alexander Levy, who came fourth at last year’s Oman Open, and 2016 Ryder Cup player Thomas Pieters, who is making his first appearance at this event.
Defending champion Joost Luiten, who flew in from the WGC-Mexico Championship on Tuesday morning, made a strong start to his title defence with a three under par first round.
Hugo Leon, Zander Lombard and Tom Murray will finish their first rounds on Friday morning after play was suspended due to darkness – the trio have just the 18th hole to play.