From Brian Keogh at San Roque
Derry’s Michael McGeady opened with a rollercoaster 75 in the European Tour Qualifying School Finals at San Roque.
And it was an equally frustrating day for Belfast’s Damian Mooney, who matched McGeady's three over par 75 after a bad day with his wedges in southern Spain.
Athlone’s Colm Moriarty led the Irish charge for a coveted European Tour card with a two under par 70 on the Old Course that left him just four shots behind England’s Robert Coles in a 20-man tie for 10th place.
But the marathon journey to finish in the top 30 and ties looks like an uphill battle for Ireland’s remaining contenders with no fewer than 28 players tied for 30th place on one under par.
Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe shot a two over par 74, dropping two shots in the last three holes on the Old Course as Dubliner Stephen Browne matched Mooney’s 75 on the New Course.
McGeady was three over par after 11 holes but after getting back to one over with two to play with birdies at the fifth and seventh, he ran up a triple bogey seven at his 17th hole before picking up a shot at the par-five ninth.
“It was a wee bit frustrating,” he said. “It was nice to finish with a birdie. I know I can play a lot better so that's a nice feeling to go out with tomorrow.”
Mooney had five bogeys and two birdies in his 75, explaining: “I struggled with my wedge play and missed three greens from inside 130 yards and made bogey.
“If I had hit those greens with wedges I'd be one under so it was a stress free day. I have a wee bit of work to do but I am still happy with the way I have played.”
Browne was two under after four holes but then had six bogeys in ten-hole stretch before picking up a shot on the 16th.