The weather might have been surprisingly benign but there was nothing unusual about the name at the top of the leaderboard as Walker Cup player Jack Hume took a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin.
The 22-year-old world amateur number nine was the hot favourite with the bookies and many of his peers before the off.
And he didn’t disappoint on a day of mild, 15 mph southwest breezes at the pristine Bull Island links, where he holed a 60-yard lob wedge for an eagle at the sixth and cancelled out two bogeys with five birdies in what was a personal best, five-under-par 67 in the event.
“I think I played well enough to be a couple lower but I’m happy with that,” said Hume after breaking 70 for only the second time in 17 Irish Amateur Open championship rounds at the Dollymount course, where he opened with a 69 to share the first-round lead last year only to end up tied 20th.
“It was so much more enjoyable just to be able to swing freely and not have to feel like you almost have to balance yourself over the ball.”
While the wind shifted to the southeast in the afternoon and the temperature dropped quickly, the lack of a seriously testing breeze did not result in a rash of low scores around a shorted by 137 yards to 7,160 yards with tees pushed up by an average of 25 yards at the seventh, 10th 12th, 13th and 17th.
Chasing his third title this year, Hume got off to a flying start by following birdies at the second, third and fifth with that hole-out for an eagle three at the sixth putting him five under par.
He then completed what he described as a “mad” front nine of four under 31 with a bogey-birdie-bogey run from the seventh coming home in one under 36 with eight pars and a lone birdie at the par-five 14th.
He leads by a stroke from Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell, Waterford's Eanna Griffin and Sam Whitaker from Blankness Golf Club in Lincolnshire with Portmarnock's Conor Purcell, Edmondstown's Barry Daly and Irish Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon from Massereene are in a five-way tie for fifth with the Isle of Man's Tom Gandy and England's Adam Chapman after three under 69s.
“He just doesn’t give you a break, does he?” said Campbell of Hume after a 68 that featured an eagle, three birdies and just one bogey. “He is just so consistent. He is playing great golf and has been since the Walker Cup last year.”
A newcomer to the Irish panel this year as he mixes golf with early morning work at his father’s stable in Slieverue just outside Waterford, Griffin is hoping to break into the senior team and play in the Home Internationals in September.
And he believes that after a slow start to the year, yesterday’s 68 could be the round he needs to build some confidence and contend for the championship win that would guarantee him that green blazer.
“I want to play for Ireland and if you win championships that should cover you,” said Griffin, who eagled the second thanks to a six-iron to eight feet and followed sloppy bogeys at the seventh and eighth with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th in a brilliant homeward 33.
He added: “If I play my own golf, that should be good enough, I just need to get some confidence and I will be away because I know the good golf is in there.”