Muskerry’s Niall Gorey and West Waterford’s Gary Hurley are just five shots off the pace after a scorching start to the Golfsure-sponsored Irish Amateur Close.
The Munster pair carded one-under 71s to remain well in the hunt. Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge leads after hitting an immaculate six-under-par 66 to lead by two strokes from Walker Cup star Alan Dunbar of Rathmore, Newlands’ Andrew Hogan and Ardee’s recently-crowned Munster Youths champion Eugene Smith.
Bidding to follow in the footsteps of 2000 champion Graeme McDowell by winning the title on his home track, Dunbar fired an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in an opening 68.
“I had an early night and made sure I was well rested,” said Dunbar, who has been fighting off a virus for a few days. “But it’s just one round. There’s a long way to go and with the heat tomorrow and 36 holes on Sunday, it could be tough.”
Selfridge has had a stellar freshman year for the University of Toledo and was delighted with a new putter as he played the four par-fives in five under to snatch the first day lead.
“I never putted so badly as I did in the Senior Cup last week so I changed putter and it’s working,” said Selfridge, who hasn’t lifted a trophy since the 2007 Ulster Youths.
The highlight of his round was an eagle three after a short iron to three feet at the 10th.
West of Ireland champion Harry Diamond of Belvoir Park did well to shoot a one-over 73 after starting with triple-bogey seven at the first.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved