Mulligan takes route 69 to defy 'Close' winds
County Louth's Thomas Mulligan defied winds gusting up to 25mph to set the pace with a superb 69 in the first qualifying round of the AIG Irish Amateur Close at Ballyliffin.
But while the 17-year-old Boys international was thrilled with his three-under-par effort, he's not getting ahead of himself and thinking of a maiden championship victory.
"I thought a score around 75 would be good today because it's quite windy," said Mulligan, whose ambition is simply to make the leading 64 today and qualify for the matchplay stages. "But I played quite well."
After losing 9&7 to Robbie Pierse in the last 16 in Tramore 12 months ago, the promising Mornington player knows anything can happen in matchplay.
"It would be unbelievable but there's a hell of a long way to go," Mulligan said.
"Last year I came second in qualifying and then I was walloped in the last 16, so I'll just take it round by round."
Just four players broke par on the testing Glashedy Links with 20-year old Tramore international Robin Dawson just a shot behind Mulligan after a 70.
"Very pleased in those conditions," said Dawson. "It was really stress-free golf."
Irish Amateur Open champion Colm Campbell from Warrenpoint also showed his resilience, dropping his only shot of the day at his final hole for a one-under 71 and a share of third with Irish team-mate and 2014 'Close' champion John Ross Galbraith from Whitehead.