Amateur ace McElroy in NI Open chase after super 67
SWEDE Joakim Lagergren, 22, got the Northern Ireland Open Challenge off to a rip-roaring start with a course-record nine-under-par 62 at Galgorm Castle.
Many of the 4,400 who flocked to the event witnessed Lagergren's spectacular efforts first hand because he played with hot local amateur Dermot McElroy, 21. The youngster gave his Ballymena friends and neighbours plenty to cheer with a sparkling 67.
McElroy, a member of the Irish team which struck silver at the Europeans then won the Triple Crown at the Home Internationals, is determined to emulate last year's impressive ninth place at this Challenge Tour event.
He and Lurgan pro Gareth Shaw shared eighth on four-under. Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell, best of the home team in joint third, brought his 65 to a spectacular conclusion with an eagle three at nine.
Torrential rain caused a 47-minute stoppage yesterday afternoon.
An unforgettable albatross two at the ninth in Ardglass propelled Perranporth's Chris Johnston into the lead at the Irish Youths Amateur Close. In testing afternoon conditions, Johnston carded a level-par 70 for a 36-hole total of 145, one clear of Peter Kerr, Ben Graham and Thomas Mulligan, all of whom took advantage of kinder earlier conditions with rounds of 69, 69 and 70 respectively.
Richard Weldon from Killeen Castle shared sixth going into today's final round of the EuroPro Tour event at The Oxfordshire after a hole-in-one at 11. Four-under after back-to-back 70s, he lies six behind England's Richard Prophet.