Carey and Loftus up for Irish Challenge
David Carey and Declan Loftus were the only home players to match par as Mount Wolseley bared its teeth on the opening day of the Irish Challenge.
Dubliner Carey took advantage of a late Team Ireland Golf invitation and made an eagle and six birdies in his level-par 72 on a day when just 11 players broke par in cold, windy conditions.
"Having walked off the first three-over and off the eighth two-over, it's a pretty good score," said 21-year-old Europro Tour regular Carey, who triple-bogeyed the first and double-bogeyed the eighth in a roller-coaster round.
Castlebar native Loftus, a former Irish Intervarsity champion with Maynooth University, had four birdies and four bogeys on his card as he ended the day alongside Carey in a share of 12th.
They are well in touch with Sweden's Oscar Lengden, who followed last Sunday's Bridgestone Challenge win by making seven birdies in a four-under 68, leading by a shot from Italy's Jacopo Vecchi Fossa.
Mount Wolseley's touring professional Gavin Moynihan had to hole a brace of 10-footers for par on the last two greens to grind out a two-over 74 and finish the day tied for 42nd with Old Conna's Neil O'Briain and Naas' Conor O'Rourke, who is making his professional debut.
Meanwhile, John-Ross Galbraith remains firmly on course to reach the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.
The international star from Whitehead is five-under par after 54 holes of the first stage event over the Roxburghe course in Scotland and another decent round today should see him bag one of the qualification spots. The top 20 plus ties will make the cut, with the magic mark currently three-under par.
It could have been even more comfortable for Galbraith had it not been triple-bogey six on the 15th and a bogey on 18. That meant he signed for a one-under 71 after a round that also included five birdies.
Drive Golf's Colm Moriarty roared back into contention with a 68 and he is bang on that three-under mark with 18 holes to play.
Headfort's Joe Dillon and Castlewarden's Mark Whelan both missed the cut, while Englishman Sam Hutsby leads the field on 14-under par.
Mount Juliet's Stephen Grant is bidding to progress at the corresponding event at Fleesensee in Germany, where play was suspended for a second successive day.
The third round will resume early this morning after which players within seven strokes of 20th place will make the cut and play the final 18 holes.
Grant managed to finish yesterday, shooting a 75 which left him four-over .