Curley makes promising start to marathon campaign for Tour card
The gruelling 255-hole marathon to win a European Tour card for 2015 is under way, with Ireland's Cian Curley putting an early marker down.
The Newlands player had the best start of the six Irishman aiming to progress from the first stage Qualifying School event taking place at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire.
Curley shot a three-under-par first round 69, which included four birdies, 13 pars and a bogey on the sixth hole.
That left him four shots behind England's Daniel Gavins and Daniel Woltman of the USA, who are tied on 65 at the head of the leaderboard after day one.
Reeve Whitson from Mourne goes into day two one under par after picking up four birdies and three bogeys in his round of 71, alongside Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC).
David Rawluk (The Island) is on level par after a round which included an eagle on the eighth and double-bogey on the 18th.
In the corresponding first stage event in Fleesensee, Germany, Lucan's Richard O'Donovan shot a one-over-par 73.
The first stage consists of four sections, each divided into two tournaments staged across the continent this month.
Round two sees another 72 holes played out at four venues across Spain next month before the competition reaches its climax in November at the PGA Catalunya Resort.
Battle will commence over six rounds with the top 25 (and ties) gaining entry on to The 2015 Race to Dubai.
Meanwhile, Ireland made a disappointing start to the Seniors Home International Championship North Berwick yesterday, slumping to a 7-2 defeat to Wales. Holders England beat Wales 5.5-3.5 in the other first day encounter.
Ireland trailed 2-1 after the foursomes and there appeared to be plenty to play for in the singles but the impressive Scots took control after lunch and pulled away for a comfortable 7-2 success, with Ireland winning none of the seven singles.
Tom Cleary,Noel Duke and Hugh Smyth all went down to out-in the country defeats and that meant the end of Ireland's hopes of starting the round-robin series with a victory.
They take on England today in what will be another tough match..
All they could manage were halves chalked up by former European seniors champion and reigning Irish Seniors title-holder Maurice Kelly.
Donabate veteran Pat Doran and Sheena McElroy lead the Irish challenge after the opening round of the British Senior Ladies Open Stroke-play Championship at Royal Dornoch.
Doran and McElroy both finished with scores of three-over-par 79 to be eight strokes behind England's Helen Lowe, who is two in front of the chasing pack.
They each dropped three strokes on the outward half but came home in level par 39. Doran closed with a birdie on the final hole, while McElroy had two birdies in the last three holes.
Headfort's Pauline Walsh and Gertie McMullen are well down the field with scores of 83 and 84 respectively.
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