Alex Maguire still has some college work left in Florida Atlantic University but he will be looking to make the grade this week at the First Stage of DP World Tour Q-School and a sensational five birdie finish helped him on his way in round one.
Standing on the fourteenth tee at one-over after 12 pars and a bogey, Maguire made a blistering charge for the clubhouse with five successive birdies to turn a mundane day into a good one with a four-under 68 which leaves him in a share of 16th place, five shots off the lead in Austria.
“Today was a weird one, had a very good start, hitting it to ten feet on 1, twenty on the next and I was making solid pars, hitting fairways and greens, not in any trouble,” explained Maguire who has had a hectic fortnight at the Walker Cup and Horizon Irish Open.
“It was great to finish that way because it was one of those rounds where nothing was happening and it could have got away from me and it was flat out there so to rally and finish with five birdies in a row to keep myself in this qualification stage is massive and I’m here to qualify and happy to give myself a chance after a mundane 13 holes. Dinner will taste a lot nicer than it would have a couple of hours ago.”
It took a while for the Laytown & Bettystown amateur to find his groove on the greens, missing a few early birdie chances before three-putting the sixteenth. He began to find his touch around the turn with two crucial par saves on 18 and 1 while he also chipped in on the seventh for a birdie which gave him some serious momentum.
It was a momentum saving day overall and one that has him in the frame to advance to Stage Two.
“Three-putted 16 which was my seventh, hit it close on eight and I wasn’t holing anything and I’m one over. I scrambled well on 18 and the 1st, the round could have got away from me at three-over with eight to play and you are looking at a very long few days. But got up and down and played the last few holes really well.
“Hit it close on the par-3 then thought in my head I might need to birdie the last few holes to have a chance this week because I knew the scoring would be low with the soft greens. Hit it to fifteen feet and then long on the next par four and chipped in. To chip in was great, struggling to get up and down and all of a sudden you save two shots which is great.
“Played the par five lovely, hit the fairway and chipped to three-feet, up nine hit a 50 degree to twelve feet and it was one of those momentum putts you felt would go in.”
Play was suspended before the opening day could be completed with Mark Power leading the Irish charge on six-under-par after a superb bogey-free 66.
Amateurs Charlie Kelly and Peter O’Keeffe are level and one-over-par respectively.
Meanwhile in Sweden JR Galbraith is two-under at the halfway stage in 25th place with Gavin Moynihan a shot further back while Kevin Phelan is four-over.