Ronan Mullarney cashes in with course record 62 at Co Sligo

Ireland international lost his wallet in the morning before taking four-shot lead

Ireland international Ronan Mullarney produced a career low round of 62 to take a four-shot lead on nine under after the opening day of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Co Sligo golf club.

In divine conditions, the 23-year-old from Galway caught fire on the links at Rosses Point, making nine birdies to set a course record, two shots better than the previous best.

“The whole day didn’t start well,” Mullarney revealed after his round. “I lost my wallet this morning. I forgot my battery leaving the house and I plonked it in the bunker on the first.”

After his inauspicious start, Mullarney saved par from 15 feet on the first green and did not look back. He birdied the next two holes from inside 10 feet and, although gaining further ground at the fifth, felt in need of more returns. Charlie Strickland, playing alongside, had already reached five under.

“After the seventh, I was two behind Charlie,” Mullarney reflected. “That was good. We were kind of feeding off each other. I was thinking that I needed to hole something because he was pulling away.”

With another birdie at the ninth, Mullarney edged closer, but his outward nine of 32 seemed modest when set against his homeward run. Beginning at the 11th, he made five birdies on the trot.

“I don’t like to hide from the fact if I’m going well,” said Mullarney. “If it comes to the last day and there’s a few people following me, I know I’m doing well. There’s no point hiding from it. Hopefully, I have to deal with it at some stage.”

Two-putt pars on the final three holes completed a magical round for Mullarney, who won the Irish Student Championship at Tralee in 2018. He is also a member of the Paddy Harrington Golf Scholarship Programme at Maynooth University, where he is studying for a Master’s in Strategy and Innovation.

Three players share second place overnight: Scottish pair Robbie Muir and Euan Walker are locked together with England's James Newton on five under. Next best of the home challengers are Connemara teenager Luke O'Neill, who made six birdies in a four-under 67, and Massereene's Tiarnán McLarnon, who went bogey free. O'Neill, a member of the Ireland Boys panel, and McLarnon, 27, are among a group of seven players tied for fifth spot.

LEADERBOARD (Par 71)

62
R Mullarney (Galway)

66 J Newton (Eng), R Muir (Sco), E Walker (Sco)

67 T McLarnon (Massereene), L O'Neill (Connemara), J Bolton (Eng), J Hull (Eng), K Kouwenaar (Ned), A Edwards-Hill (Eng), C Strickland (Eng)

68 K Cantley (Sco), R McNelis (Fintona), R Moran (Castle)

69 G Cullen (The Links Portmarnock), B Chamberlain (Wal), L Moolman (RSA), J Johnston (Sco), J Wright (Sco), B Firth (Eng), M Farr (Eng), D Antonisse (Ned), J Burnage (Eng)

70 B Dietzel (Ger), G Burns (Sco), A Herrmann (Ger), S MacPherson (Sco), O Brown (Wal), M Kennedy (Royal Dublin), R Cannon (Balbriggan), K Egan (Carton House), D Kitt (Athenry), H Foley (Royal Dublin), M Lamb (Eng), C Purcell (Portmarnock), J Sugrue (Mallow)

71 P Coughlan (Castleknock), M Naysmith (Sco), A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire), J Whelan (Newlands), M Boucher (Carton House), M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire), C Woollam (RSA), J Cass (Eng), A Hietala (Fin), E Murphy (Dundalk), M Honkala (Fin), O Huggins (Eng), M Roberts (Wal), E McCormack (Galway), S Desmond (Monkstown), M Hammer (Ger), P Poate (USA), R Williamson (Holywood), R Brazill (Naas), G Collins (Rosslare), H Byers (Eng), A McCormack (Castletroy)

72 H Goddard (Eng), J McMahon (Eng), L Irvine (Sco), M Deasy (Lee Valley), C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire), D Howie (Sco), L Sanges (Wal), L Owen (Eng), R Black (Hilton Templepatrick), S Roger (Sco)

73 J Cooper (Eng), P McKeever (Castle), I Lynch (Rosslare), M McClean (Malone), G Dunne (Co. Louth), H Islam (Eng), T Vahlenkamp (Ger), M Scowsill (Eng), M Hirmer (Ger), C Thornton (Eng), S Turner (Eng), S Walsh (Portmarnock), E Mcintosh (Sco), J Rowe (Tandragee), W Porter (Sco), J McDonnell (Forrest Little), M Markovits (Ned), S Doyle (Black Bush), J Wilson (Sco), M Power (Kilkenny)

74 C Knipes (Eng), P Connolly (Killeen Castle), A Marshall (Lisburn), D Langley (Eng), J Byrne (Baltinglass), R Foley (Sui), L Hinton (Eng), M Essam (Eng), S Flanagan (Co. Sligo), J Walsh (Castle), R O'Connor (Co. Sligo), E Smith (The Links Portmarnock), J Hawksby (Eng)

75 R Latimer (Knock), M Herrmann (Ger), C Barrow (Eng), J Hapgood (Wal), M McKinstry (Cairndhu), C Butler (Kinsale), F O'Sullivan (Tralee), J McCarthy (Grange)

76 R Dutton (Tandragee), F van Dijk (Ned), D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh), C Wilson (Sco), M Norton (Belvoir Park), P O'Keeffe (Douglas), W Dodds (Eng)

77 C Morris (Wal), J Davies (Wal), J Temple (Portmarnock), D West (Eng), T Tetak (Slo), J Biggs (Eng), C Campbell (Warrenpoint), R Lyons (Olympic), C Otten (Ger), C Wilson (Can)

78 C Salter (Eng), Z Karkaletsos (Eng), J Stokes (Eng), M Harris (Wal)

79 K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire), T O'Connor (Athlone)

80 J Fox (Portmarnock)

82 W Small (Tandragee)

85 M McCormack (The Island)

READ MORE