Slip on stairs rules Donnelly out
Former Walker Cup stars Gary Hurley, Cormac Sharvin and Gavin Moynihan made hot starts but Luke Donnelly suffered a fall and was forced to withdraw before Stage Two of the European Tour Qualifying School with an ankle injury.
The promising Kilkenny star (21) suffered a badly-bruised ankle when he slipped on the steps of his apartment and ended up in hospital on the eve of the first round of his qualifier at Desert Springs in Almería,
"I'm absolutely devastated to be forced to withdraw," Donnelly said.
"I fell going back to my apartment and spent yesterday evening in A&E. I felt very confident heading into this week, but these things happen. Sport always has its knocks but I'm going to get back stronger and better and get ready for next season."
West Waterford star Hurley (25) opened with a five-under 67 to share third place at Desert Springs where Moynihan (24) posted a two-under 70 to lie tied 17th as Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell shot 74 and Waterford Castle's Kevin Phelan a 75.
Ardglass talent Sharvin (26) opened with a four-under 68 at El Encín near Madrid to share 14th spot while Tramore's Robin Dawson and Neil O'Brien also started well with two-under 70's leaving them tied for 28th.
Approximately 18 to 20 players will progress at each of the four Second Stage venues which leaves Ruaidhri McGee (71) and Cameron Raymond (74) with work to do at Las Colinas in Alicante, while Naas's Conor O'Rourke is tied 43rd after a level-par 72 at nearby Alenda Golf.