Moynihan and Casey lead Irish challenge at Tour school

A total of 12 Irish golfers in action across four Spanish courses in second stage qualifying

 Gavin Moynihan of The Island made a strong start to European Tour second stage qualifying at El Saler in Valencia. Photograph:   Jan Kruger/R&A Via Getty Images)

Gavin Moynihan of The Island made a strong start to European Tour second stage qualifying at El Saler in Valencia. Photograph: Jan Kruger/R&A Via Getty Images)

 

Walker Cup star Gavin Moynihan and Headfort’s Brian Casey shone brightest of the 12-strong Irish contingent on the opening day of the second stage of European Tour qualifying school in Spain on Friday.

The Island’s Moynihan used all his links knowledge at the tough El Saler course in Valencia, making five birdies in eight holes from the fifth before dropping his only shot of the day on the 16th.

Moynihan’s four-under 68 left him in a tie for third spot, two shots behind European Tour veteran Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden.

Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge is in a tie for 17th spot after a two-under 70 that included three birdies and a bogey, while Michael McGeady of Northwest GC went out in 40 on his way to a four-over 76.

Casey shot the lowest round to par of the Irish in action, carding a seven-under 65 at Panoramica that left him alone in third spot after the opening round.

Eight birdies in a 12-hole stretch from the fourth, including five straight from the seventh hole got the Headfort player to eight under before his only dropped shot of the day on the 16th.

Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell’s and Colm Campbell Jr from Warrenpoint are both well placed in a tie for 13th spot after they both carded opening rounds of 68.

Naas amateur Jack Hume, another Walker Cup-winner, could only manage a level-par 72 .

Spanish amateur Scott Fernandez leads the way at Panoramica after a scintillating 10-under 62.

Gary Hurley and Alan Dunbar are in a share of 14th position after the opening round at Lumine Golf & Beach Club after both posted three-under 68s.

Walker Cup player Hurley was level par with three holes to play before firing three straight birdies and closing with a par, while and eagle three on the 18th, his ninth hole of the day, was the highlight of Dunbar’s round.

Paul Dunne got off to a slow start, dipping under par on his final hole of the day with a birdie on the ninth and a tie for 39th spot.

Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick is tied for 42nd position at Las Colinas after carding a level-par 71, with Rory McNamara – who is based at La Cala in Spain – two shots back in share of 56th position.

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