England's David Horsey fired a four under par 67 on his 21st birthday to grab the first-round lead in strokeplay qualifying for the Radisson SAS West of Ireland Championship.
The Manchester native fired six birdies and two bogeys on a day of high scoring at Rosses Point to lead by a stroke from Chris Hughes of Royal Portrush.
The top 64 after 36 holes of strokeplay qualifying go through to Sunday's matchplay stages.
And they should include defending champion Rory McIlroy, who was four under par after five holes but ran up two double bogeys and had to settle for a level par 71.
In the end, just eight players broke par at a Rosses Point links that has been lenghtened by 110 yards for this year's championship, compared to 22 in last year's first round.
Ulsterman Hughes was six under par from his round with three to play but fell victim to Sligo’s tiger tough finish when he bogeyed the last three holes.
Plus four handicapper Horsey said: “I’m not planning and celebrations yet. It’s purely golf this week and I’ll celebrate my birthday when I get home.
“My girlfriend Anne is caddying for me and she gave me some CDs and a belt today. But I’ll leave the rest of the celebrations until later.”
A member of the English elite squad, Horsey fired six birdies and two bogeys in his 67 at a Rosses Point links which has been lengthened by 110 yards this year.
Two under par after birdies at the first and third, he bogeyed the sixth and eighth but birdied the seventh and ninth to turn in two under.
A lob wedge to 10 feet set up another birdie at the 10th before he two-putted the par five 12th to get to five under and parred his way home.
Championship favourite McIlroy, 16, was four under par after five holes but found the stream with his approach at the seventh and deep rough at the 15th to drop back to level par.
“I got off to a good start and gave myself opportunities but I just wasn’t hitting it close enough,” McIlroy said.
“I birdied the first, third, fourth and fifth but then hit it in the water at the seventh and made double then made another double at the 15th because I had to take a penalty drop at the after a bad drive into the right rough.”
McIlroy and Hughes weren’t the only Ulstermen to come crashing back to earth after a hot start.
Tandragee’s Stuart Paul, the 2002 champion, eagled both the par five third and fifth holes to get to four under par but finished up with a two over par 73.
Three consecutive bogeys from the sixth dropped him back to one under before he birdied the ninth.
He double bogeyed the 11th to drop back to level par, lipped out for a third eagle from 50 feet at the 12th but then double bogeyed the 15th and dropped another shot at the 17th to finish on two over.
Radisson SAS sponsored West of Ireland Championship, Co Sligo (Par 71)
36 holes qualifying (1st rd)
67 D Horsey (Styal (UK))
68 C Hughes (Royal Portrush)
69 R Boal (Scrabo), R Maher (Nenagh)
70 H Diamond (Holywood), N O'Connor (Elm Park/UCD), D Houlihan (K Club), E Kennedy (Strabane)
71 F Rafferty (Dungannon), N Grant (Knock), G McDermott (Co Sligo), P O'Hanlon (Curragh), C Martin (Nenagh), K McCarthy (Kinsale), P Murray (Limerick), D Morgan (Mullingar), D Crowe (Dunmurry), R McIlroy (Holywood), W McCully (Donaghadee), R Evans (Moyola Park)
72 R McCarthy (Island), A Menton (The Wisley (UK)), S Moloney (Castletroy), N Kearney (Royal Dublin), M Campbell (Stackstown), B McCarroll (Ballyliffin), R Cannon (L'towm & B'town), G Bowden (Hermitage), M Collins (Sutton), A Dowling (Hermitage), S Doherty (Ballyliffin), D Finn (Mallow), M Horan (Birr), J Lyons (Galway), M Sinclair (Knock), K Stack (Dungarvan/UCC)
73 A Wynne (Strandhill), S Lowry (Esker Hills), K Lovelock (Hindhead (UK)), D McInerney (Lahinch), J Turner (Royal Portrush), K Bornemann (Douglas), D Boyle (Cruit Island), P McGrath (Dromoland), J Moore (L'town & B'town), K O'Neill (Strandhill), E McAnoy (Knock), S Paul (Tandragee), K Condren (Greystones)
74 J Harding (City of Derry), J Neary (Galway), J McGinn (L'town & B'town), S Loftus (Ennis), P Sheehan (Ballybunion), B Cashman (Belvoir Park), G Mellerick (Fota Island), P Connolly (Clontarf), M Rowe (Athlone), E O'Sullivan (The Island), A McCormick (Scrabo), D Dunne (Royal Dublin), S Crowe (Dunmurry), M Shanahan (West Waterford), D Leathem (Lisburn), A McKinley (Shandon Park), P Errity (Delgany), A Hogan (Newlands), J Kavanagh (Castletroy), H Boch (Ballybunion)
75 C Carvill (Belvoir Park), B Reddan (Co Louth), D O'Donovan (Muskerry), R Duggan (Kilkenny), E Arthurs (Forrest Little), S Carter (Mountrath), J Somers (L'town & B'town), M Lavelle (Belmullet), D O'Brien (L'town & B'town), N Cullen (Beaverstown), C Doran (Banbridge), S Ward (Co Louth), E McCormack (Galway)
76 M Malone (Belvoir Park), D Kelleher (Portmarnock), A Harty (West Waterford), M Poucher (Castle), G Mallon (North West), D Conway (Mallow), S Miskelly (Knock), R Leonard (Banbridge), D Coyle (Co Louth), G Managh (Knock), M Buggy (Castlecomer), K Canty (Douglas), J Fox (Portmarnock), R Williams (Baltinglass), D Carroll (Grange), D Coyne (Tuam)
77 M McEneff (St. Anne's), S Heavey (Co Sligo), S Keenan (Galway), D McNeill (B'bofey & S'olar), A Glynn (Porters Park(UK)), K Kennedy (Co Tipperary), C Curley (Newlands), D Moran (The Island), C O'Connor (Athlone/UCD), D Hunt (Nenagh), P Sheehy (Limerick)
78 D Downie (Sutton), B O'Connor (Hermitage), E Saxel (Petersfield (UK)), S Grant (Birr), T Reid (Fulwell (UK)), M Brett (Portmarnock), J Hughes (Douglas), T O'Neill (Rathsallagh), D Ford (Co Sligo), S Power (West Waterford), S Shaw (Lisburn)
79 D Lally (Tuam), A Condren (Greystones), G Hall (Edenderry), B Walton (The Island/UCD), R Williams (Woodlands), T Spence (Clandeboye), T Cleary (East Clare)
80 T McGowan (Strandhill), A Morris (Belvoir Park)
81 G Carew (Edenderry), S Dwyer (Newlands), W Kelly (Killeen), M Ryan (Grange)
82 S O'Flaherty (Hermitage), E Hayes (Charleville), D Scully (Galway)
83 S McConnell (Ballyclare), A McAuley (Ardee)
84 E Haugh (Castletroy)
85 F Fylnn (L'town & B'town)
87 P Buckley (Kanturk)
88 L Cunningham (Moate)