Hurley topping class for Ireland at European Tour qualifying school
Gary Hurley is well placed after a strong opening round in the first stage European Tour qualifying school event at Frilford Heath, Oxfordshire.
It was a difficult start for Hurley, who bagged bogeys on the 16th and 18th after starting on the 10th. His back nine saw improvement with four birdies but a bogey on his penultimate hole saw him finish with a one-under 71. That was enough to see him sit in a six-way tie for eighth, three strokes behind English leader Andrew Wilson.
Niall Kearney, John Ross Galbraith, Paul McBride and Tim Rice are one shot behind Hurley after equally impressive rounds.
Kearney and Galbraith both enjoyed the sixth hole, where they recorded eagles.
Brian Casey and Kevin Phelan both shot 73, one over par. Casey started with three birdies on his first five holes but did also card a bogey. However, it went downhill after the turn with three bogeys between holes one and four.
John Hickey hit a respectable 74 but will need to up his game in the next few rounds. Paul O'Neill also needs to improve if he wants to keep his hopes of earning a European Tour card as he shot a seven-over 79, and the same applies to Stuart Grehan after he carded 81.
At the corresponding event at Bogogno, Italy, Cameron Raymond made a promising start with a three-under 69. His card contained five birdies and two bogeys to leave him five strokes behind early Italian leader Lorenzo Scalise.