Foley fires his career best as he cruises into lead at Lahinch
Royal Dublin's Hugh Foley cruised to a "stress-free" eight-under 64 to set the pace after the first qualifying round in the Pierse Motors VW sponsored South of Ireland Amateur Championship at Lahinch.
The Dubliner (22) took advantage of the best of the early conditions to fire eight birdies in the lowest round of his career. He leads by two shots from Rosslare's Paul Murphy in the race for 59 spots in tomorrow's matchplay draw after internationals James Sugrue, Mark Power, Conor Purcell, John Murphy and holder Caolan Rafferty were given byes.
"I've never gone past the second round here but it's the best round I've shot anywhere, recreationally or competitively," said Foley, whose previous best was a 66 as an amateur on the Evolve Pro Tour in Spain in February. "It was great. I was feeling a little ill this morning and I was distracted about that and not thinking about my score."
A full-time golfer hoping to break into the Irish team before contemplating professional golf, Foley two-putted for birdie at The Klondyke, hit an eight iron to 10 feet at The Dell and tapped in from three feet for another two at the eighth to turn in 33.
A 25-footer at the 11th gave him his third two day and after hitting a seven iron stone dead at the 14th, he made an eight-footer for his sixth birdie at the 15th, seeing him home in 31. "I drove it well and putted well," said Foley. "It was stress-free and I got a break with the draw."
Murphy also went bogey-free for his 66 as Monkstown's Sean Desmond, Castleknock's Paul Coughlan, The Island's Rhys Clarke and Galway's Cathal Nolan shot 67s in a 15-20mph southerly wind.
North of Ireland runner-up Peter O'Keeffe posted a 68 to share seventh.