Irish chasing Tour cards struggle in Perth

Dubliner Peter Lawrie needs to win in Western Australia but is already 11 off the lead

Anthony Wall of England and Oliver Goss of Australia walk past a group of ducks on day one of the 2014 Perth International at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, Australia. Photograph:  Paul Kane/Getty Images

Anthony Wall of England and Oliver Goss of Australia walk past a group of ducks on day one of the 2014 Perth International at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, Australia. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

 

The three Irish fighting for their Tour cards at the ISPS Handa Perth International have it all do after slow starts in Western Australia.

With the lead shared by Australia’s John Wade and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen at eight under, Gareth Maybin is one under after a 71, one ahead of Kevin Phelan and four in front of Peter Lawrie, who needs to win the tournament to retain his card for next season.

Phelan needs a top four finish, while Maybin will keep his card if he ends up in the top seven.

Damien McGrane, who is 94th in the Race to Dubai rankings, is under no such pressure and is best of the Irish on two under after a 70.

Those outside the top 111 in the rankings will drop down to the European Tour Qualifying School.

The 46-year-old Australian Wade made a blistering start at Lake Karrinyup, carding four birdies on his first five holes on the back nine, before adding an eagle on the 15th. He picked up two further shots after turning in 30 to set the pace before being pegged back by Olesen, who notched eight birdies to join him in finishing on 64, with the rest of the field at least two shots behind.

Wade, who has only won one title on the Challenge Tour eight years ago, told the European Tour website: “This is ridiculous really. I didn’t know what to expect. I just was proud that I didn’t let it go after I was six under, which is really annoying for most guys. And someone in my situation, you’re probably half expecting that to happen. Friday is another day. This is all new to me; I’ll just to have go out with the same attitude.”

Olesen (24) was also thrilled to be one of the early front runners for the €198,300 euros winner’s cheque and said: “I played really, really well, the front nine especially. The back nine I hit a couple bad drives, but got a little bit lucky and got away with them. My short game was amazing out there. My chipping, bunker shots were really, really good, so I’m very pleased with the round.”

Australian Michael Sim shares third on six under with a trio of players all fighting to keep their Tour card for 2015.

Mark Foster and David Drysdale feature in a group of seven locked on five under, while Australian Anthony Brown sits a shot further back despite having the highlight of the day with a hole-in-one on the par-three 12th.

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