Mullarney opens with a 69 at Alps de Andalucía

Mark McGowan

Ronan Mullarney (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ronan Mullarney opened his Alps de Andalucía challenge with a three-under 69 which sees the Galway man tied for 15th after day one.

Consistent strong performances and a win at Austria’s Gösser Open sees Mullarney lie second on the season’s Order of Merit, and he arrived in southern Spain knowing that another win would virtually guarantee progression to the Challenge Tour in 2024.

Pleasant but breezy conditions greeted the 140 competitors at Isla Canela Links near Ayamonte, with the early starters enjoying better scoring conditions.


A solitary bogey came at the 15th, but birdies at six, eight, 13 and 15 saw Mullarney sign for a 69 that leaves him three strokes ahead of Paul Murphy and Joseph Hanney. Murphy had a mixed round that included three birdies, an eagle and five bogeys, while Hanney started with a double bogey seven but he’d play the remaining 17 in two-under.

Michael Young and James Sugrue shot matching one-over 72s and will need to shoot a few under tomorrow if they’re to make the cut, but Paul McBride will need to go several shots lower after an opening 74 sees him well outside the provisional cutline.

France’s Paul Margolis leads after a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 with the Netherland’s Lars Keunen finding himself in second place one stroke back. French duo Romain Wattel and Benjamin Kedochim are tied alongside Spain’s Jose Manuel Pardo Benitez in third at -6.

24-year-old Margolis turned professional in 2021 and captured his maiden Alps Tour title later that year, but despite going bogey-free in round one, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Frenchman.

“It didn’t begin very well to be honest,” Margolis said after the round. “I was -1 after 6 holes but wasn’t playing very well, I tried to stay patient as I was struggling off the tees but my putting today was great. I feel like the birdie on 7, 8, 9 and 10 everything happened on those 4 holes. It allowed me to be in a good mood for the back nine especially as I find those 9 holes easier and wider which helped as my tee shots were a struggle.”

“I will try and do same exact things as I did today,” he said when asked about his strategy for the next two rounds. “I need to be patient. I know it’s a golf course you can make lots of putts as the greens are very good. I’m going to stay patient and go shot by shot and hole by hole. I don’t want to think about anything else other than myself and what I can do to put together the best round possible.”


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