A good day in School for Dermot McElroy

Dermot McElroy made a superb start to the second stage of European Tour Qualifying School with a two-under 70 at El Saler, Spain.

The Irishman shot three birdies on his front nine but hit a spot of trouble with bogeys on the 10th and 11th.

However, a further two birdies and a bogey, saw him finish on 70, four shots behind English leader Steven Tiley.

But Brendan McCarroll already faces an uphill battle after hitting a five-over 77.

Over at Desert Springs in Almeria, Jonathan Caldwell made a decent start with a four-under 68.

Starting from the 10th, Caldwell posted a bogey on the 12th but hit back with birdies on holes 14 and 15.

Things got even better after the turnaround with further birdies on holes three, four and five. Another bogey halted his momentum before a birdie on the final hole saw him finish tied for 11th, six behind leader Amaury Rosaye.

Former Walker Cup star Cormac Sharvin also enjoyed a strong first day with a three-under 69 but ex-Irish PGA Championship winner Niall Kearney will have to drastically improve after his opening round of 74.

David Carey and Gary Hurley both opened with four-under 68s at Panoramic, Castellon, to give them a good platform to build on.

Mikael Salminen and Franck Daux lead the field on 65 and the Irish duo will feel confident of catching them as the competition progresses.

And Ruaidhri McGee also made a promising start, finishing one shot behind Carey and Hurley with 69.

Elsewhere John-Ross Galbraith leads the Irish charge at Alicante’s Las Colinas with 68, three-under par, leaving him tied for 18th.

South African Jacques Kruyswijk is top after day one with 61.

Michael Hoey sits in joint 24th after posting 69 while Colin Fairweather is near the bottom of the table after hitting 73.

Meanwhile Nicolas Colsaerts is in pole position to end a five-year victory drought after claiming a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the £5.3million Turkish Airlines Open.

Colsaerts carded a second successive 64 at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort to reach 14 under par, with England’s Eddie Pepperell his nearest challenger after back-to-back rounds of 66.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat is five shots off the pace after a 67, with Ireland’s Shane Lowry, Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and the English pair of Matt Fitzpatrick and Matthew Southgate another stroke adrift on eight under.

Colsaerts’ last European Tour title came in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2012 and helped persuade Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal to select the big-hitting Belgian as one of his wild cards.

The 34-year-old contributed one point to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ after carding eight birdies and an eagle in partnership with Lee Westwood as the European pair defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

And after getting his career back on track with three top-three finishes last season, Colsaerts now has his sights set on a return to the winner’s circle.

“I always feel like it’s pretty close because I feel like I’m good enough to do decent showings in big events and on regular occasions throughout the year,” Colsaerts said.

“It’s just little things that have to click together. We all know there are a lot of guys that can win four or five times a year and don’t for a couple of years.

“As long as I keep my head straight and put myself in a good position I’d like to think I can land a few more wins.”

This time last year Pepperell was battling to retain his card at the European Tour’s qualifying school after missing 16 cuts in 21 events following a tie for eighth in the Irish Open.


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