Dawson seizes early control at County Down
Tramore's Robin Dawson avoided a mid-round disaster to fire a sensational 65 to lead the Flogas Irish Amateur Open by three shots at Royal County Down.
The big Waterford man (22) too took advantage of idyllic conditions to lead on six-under par from Castle's Alex Gleeson and England's Alex Fitzpatrick, younger brother of Ryder Cup player Matthew, who shot 68s
"I wasn't expecting that standing on the first tee," said Dawson, who was four under par after six.
"I had a good strategy, just played it one shot at a time and it added up to 65 shots.
"It's all about playing your way around here. You don't have to do anything flash. It's just about placing the ball in the right positions."
After an easy birdie at the first, Dawson hit an eight iron stone dead at the second, then made a 25 footer at the third and a 15 footer at the sixth.
He dropped his only shot of the day at the tough eighth but the key to his round came at the iconic ninth, when he drove into the mound on the left but resisted the temptation to go for the green and got up and down from 70 yards for par.
"It could have been a disaster," he confessed. "That was a good part of the round, stopping myself from taking it on because it is easy to take things on."
He went on to pick up further shots at 12th, 14th and 18th for his 65 on a day when just 18 players broke par.
Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon, the 2013 champion, fired a two-under 69 to lie in an eight-way tie for fourth with the likes of England's world number eighth Matthew Jordan.
Rosslare's Gary Collins and Cairndhu's Stephen Watts shot one-under 70s to share 12th as defending champion Peter O'Keeffe from Douglas birdied his last three holes for a level par 71.
He shares 18th with Galway's Ronan Mullarney, Athenry's Alan Hill, Portmarnock's James Fox and Belvoir Park's Patrick Brennan.