Colm Crowley and Shane McGlynn take one-shot lead in Mullingar Scratch Cup

South of Ireland semi-finalist Eanna Griffin and title holder Daniel Holland qualify for last two rounds by a whisker after 78s

It's a credit to the changes made to the classic James Braid design in the wake of the 12-under-par 60 posted by Noel Fox 13 years ago that just two players could break par on in the opening round of the weather-reduced Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar.

Even with preferred lies in operation for an event reduced from 72 to 54 holes after heavy overnight rain forced the cancellation of the second round, only Woodbrook left-hander Colm Crowley and Carton House's Shane McGlynn could dip into the red with one-under-par 71s.

Crowley and McGlynn lead by a shot from New Forest's Kevin Metcalfe and Castle's Leinster interprovincial Alex Gleeson, the Leinster Youths champion, as the leading 51 players tee it up in the final two rounds today.

But while it was a trying day for many of the fancied contenders with South of Ireland semi-finalist Eanna Griffin and title holder Daniel Holland qualifying for the last two rounds by a whisker after 78s, East of Ireland champion Colm Campbell of Warrenpoint and Irish Close champion John-Ross Galbraith from Whitehead are lurking menacingly after two-over 74s.


Now playing off a one handicap after finishing a fine fourth behind Campbell in the Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup earlier this season, 21-year old Crowley birdied the long fourth and the driveable sixth to get to two-under par.

Blown his chance

Bogeys at the seventh and eighth saw him turn in 35 but after a birdie two at the 12th gave him into the lead, he looked to have blown his chances of a decent opening round when he bogeyed the par-three 15th and then ran up a double bogey seven at the treacherous 16th.

His finish bodes well for today’s last two rounds, however, as he birdied the tough 17th and then eagled the 506-yard, par-five 18th were he hit a three wood to six inches to set the target. He was joined in the lead by Senior Cup player McGlynn, who had two bogeys in the middle of his round at the seventh and 13th but more than made amends with birdies at the third, sixth and 16th.

There has been no home winner of the event since it was founded in 1963 but a 73 for Liam Grehan will give him hope of breaking that duck, even if he did three-putt the 18th for par.

Grehan was three over after just two holes but he birdied the fifth and ninth to get back to just one over and then followed three straight bogeys at the start of the back nine with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 17th to end the day tied for fifth spot with South of Ireland semi-finalist Richard Knightly of Royal Dublin, Knock's Colin Fairweather, Carton House's Stephen Healy and Castlemartyr's Mark Shanahan.