Irish just a shot off pace
Published 31/03/2011 | 05:00
Ireland made an encouraging start yesterday to their bid for the European Nations Cup at Sotogrande on Spain's Costa Del Sol.
After the opening round they were in a share for second place alongside the host country and Austria, only one stroke behind leaders France, the reigning World champions.
Ballymena's Dermot McElroy was in fine form, firing a splendid 69, while Rathmore's Irish Champion Alan Dunbar returned a 71 and Portstewart's Walker Cup hopeful Paul Cutler a 72 as the other counting scores.
Rory Leonard from Banbridge was out of sorts with a 79.
McElroy, one of the rising stars of Irish golf, hardly put a foot wrong as he occupied one of the leading individual places at the end of day one.
His short game was immaculate around this testing lay-out of the Real Club De Golf.
Only two players -- German Marcel Schneider, with a sizzling 65, and Frenchman Julien Brun, who went round in 68, had better returns than McElroy.
Ireland are two strokes ahead of Scotland and four clear of England, who are chasing a third consecutive European Nations crown.