Stuart Grehan leads Irish challenge at European Amateur Championship

Stuart Grehan fired in a flawless three-under-par opening round of 69 in tough conditions to lead the Irish assault on the European Amateur Championship in Estonia.

Stuart Grehan leads Irish challenge at European Amateur Championship

The Tullamore man notched birdies at the sixth and eighth holes to go into the turn on two under before securing a third birdie at the par five 15th to cap off what was a fine unblemished first round.

He currently holds a share of 13th place — with compatriots Paul McBride and Conor O’Rourke eventually ending a further stroke back.

The Island’s McBride started with a bogey but went on to strike four birdies, dropping a shot at the par four 12th, to go into today’s second round in tied 27th.

O’Rourke bogeyed the seventh but a stunning run of three birdies between the 13th and 16th holes fired the Naas man up the leaderboard.

Castle’s Alex Gleeson and The Island’s Kevin Le Blanc must improve if they are to make the cut after ending the day one-over-par.

Meanwhile, former champion Arthur Pierse carded an impressive two-over-par total of 72 at Formby to go into the second day of the Seniors’ Amateur Championship with a share of ninth place.

Tipperary icon Pierse, who tasted glory in the 2007 competition at Nairn, Scotland, hit three birdies and five bogeys to finish day one three strokes behind joint leaders Randy Haag and Stefan Lindberg.

Tom Cleary, Liam Halpin, Barry O’Leary, Hugh Smyth, Maurice Kelly, Ernest Heywood and Michael Quirke are also competing in the three-day event.

Elsewhere Ireland were made to work hard as they started the Ladies’ Home Internationals with a 4.5-4.5 draw against England in Conwy.

The Irish contingent flew out of the blocks in North Wales as Olivia Mehaffey and Malone’s Louise Coffey won their foursomes clash while Lisburn’s Paula Grant and Clandeboye’s Jessica Ross also tasted success.

England rallied in the singles as Coffey, Mehaffey, Grant and Ross were all beaten.

But Sinead Sexton thrashed Emma Allen 5&4 before Mehaffey’s Curtis Cup team-mate Maria Dunne secured a 3&1 triumph over Olivia Winning to ensure the match ended all square.

Ireland’s Girls’ side battled hard to claim a share of the spoils in their opening day clash with England.

In the Boys’ Home Internationals at Ballyliffin, Ireland battle it out with Wales today in a bid to avoid landing the wooden spoon after they were beaten 9-6 by holders Scotland.

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