With the course playing easier than it has in years thanks to a mere 15 mph southwest wind, no fewer than 20 of the 120-strong field broke par, with 23-year old Griffin tied for second with Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell and England’s Sam Whitaker on four under par.
Hume made an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys in an impressive opening 67 but Griffin is well in the hunt after an impressive round that featured an eagle, four birdies and just two dropped shots.
A newcomer to the Irish panel this year as he mixes golf with morning work at his father’s stable in Slieverue just outside Waterford, Griffin is hoping to break into the senior team and play the Home Internationals in September.
And he believes that yesterday’s 68 could be the round he needs to build 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.
Griffin has missed the cut on his two previous appearances in the event but with the weather set fair this year, he’s got high hopes of challenging for a win. “On a bad day, it’s a brute,” he said of the course. “Normally you turn back into the wind on the bank nine here and you are happy to shoot five over. But on a nice day it is a really nice course.”
Griffin’s sentiments were echoed by leader Hume, the world No 9 and title favourite.
“I think I played well enough to be a couple lower but I’m happy with that,” said Hume, who holed a 60-yard lob wedge for an eagle three at the sixth and added five birdies against just two dropped shots in a career best, five under 67.
Campbell had an eagle and three birdies, including one at the 18th, in a 68 that also ranked as his personal best in Dollymount. But the 29-year old international wasn’t surprised to see Hume out in front, “He just doesn’t give you a break, does he?” Campbell said with a grin. “He is so consistent. He is playing great golf and has been since the Walker Cup last year.”
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.
But it was a disappointing day for some other senior Irish players with West of Ireland winner Jonathan Yates, East and South of Ireland champion Stuart Grehan, Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy, Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith and Tramore’s Robin Dawson all signing for three over 75s.
The most interesting round of the day came from England’s Steve Robins, who hit 17 greens in regulation and made three birdies and no bogeys in a tow over 74. His big error came at the 10th where he drove out of bounds by an inch, hit three off the tee and lost his three wood approach en route to a quintuple bogey 10 at the 560-yard par-five.
67 J Hume (Naas) 68 E Griffin (Waterford), C Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint), S Whitaker (Eng) 69 A Chapman (Eng), T McLarnon (Massereene), T Gandy (Isle of Man), B Daly (Edmondstown), C Purcell (Portmarnock) 70 M Jordan (Eng), K Attieh (KSA) 71 C Butler (Kinsale), V Lopes (Por), W Enefer (Eng), P Mullins (Wal), L Schuepbach (Sui), A Gleeson (Castle), S Ryan (Royal Dub), D Holland (Castle), G-M Petrozzi (Eng) 72 K Le Blanc (The Island), J Sugrue (Mallow), J Yule (Eng), J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little), R Mullarney (Galway), S Flanagan (Co. Sligo), T Vahlenkamp (Ger), C Geraghty (Laytown/Bettystown), F Frederik Muller (Ger), G Collins (Rosslare), B Moore (Eng) 73 J Hausweiler (Ger), C Ross (Sco), N McKinstry (Cairndhu), R Nevin-Wharton (Eng), C Fairweather (Knock), P Ruff (Eng), O Clarke (Eng), C Long (Eng), L Johnston (Sco), G McDermott (Carton House), J Li (Eng), M Boegel (Ger), D Hague (Eng) 74 L Grehan (Mullingar), J Savage (Sco), O Edwards (Wal), M Reid (Galgorm Castle), T Bombosch (Ger), S Carter (Royal Dublin), I O’Rourke (Royal Dublin), G Lenehan (Portmarnock), J Lyons (Galway), M Carradine (Sui), J Singh Brar (Eng), C Strickland (Eng), A Grant (Dundalk), M Penge (Eng), E Griffith (Wal), C Syme (Sco), D Mallon (Dungannon), G Bloor (Eng), T Mulligan (Co. Louth), M Shanahan (Castlemartyr), G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick), S Robins (Eng), R Neergaard-Peterson (Den), M Holzwarth (Ger), J Whelan (Newlands) 75 N Adank (Ger), N Schelling (Cze), D Reidy (Co. Sligo), P Tomlinson (Eng), A Wilson (Wal), C Rafferty (Dundalk), K Harman (Wal), T Silva (Por), S Grehan (Tullamore), J Yates (Naas), J Hickey (Cork), N Brader (Por), JR Galbraith (Whitehead), P Verlaar (Ned), S Lopez (Spain), R Dawson (Tramore), D McElroy (Ballymena), J Fox (Portmarnock) 76 R Cannon (Balbriggan), J Girao (Por), C O’Rourke (Naas), P Pineau (Fra), N MacAndrew (Sco), J Zuska (Cze) 77 P Coughlan (Moate), M Hausweiler (Ger), H Duggan (Kilkenny), T Hackett (Royal Dublin), F Davren (Sco), B Kinsley (Sco), R Foley (Sui), C Braeunig (Ger), K Harman (Wal) 78 M Kane (Whitehead), R Lester (Hermitage), J Thomson (Eng), D Ramsay (Wal), C Fyfe (Sco), M Ryan (New Ross), J Hood (Galgorm Castle) 79 B Anderson (Royal Dublin), B Best (Rathmore), A McCormack (Castletroy), J Newton (Eng), W Russell (Clandeboye), T Murray (Eng) 80 J Davidson (Wal) 82 B Firth (Eng), D O’Neill (Carton House), E Smith (Ardee) 84 S Gibson (Sco).