Dara Lernihan

Castle’s Dara Lernihan was the best of the Irish after the first qualifying round of the weather affected Spanish Amateur Open Championship at La Cañada in Sotogrande.

While East of Ireland champion Paul Cutler was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score, Lernihan opened with a two-over par 73 to share 16th place and trail clubhouse leader Matthew Haines of England by seven shots.

Cutler posted his card - believed to be a two over par 73 - but later approached the organising committee to explain that he had dropped several times in the rough. While placing was allowed on the fairways due to the wet conditions, there was no local rule in place to permit dropping in the rough.

Haines shot a five-under par 66 to lead by a stroke from Spain’s Emilio Cuartero Blanco with Scotland’s Kris Nicol alone in third after a 69.

Cian Curley shot a 75 and Paul Dunne a 77 but it was a struggle for Andrew Hogan and Alan Dunbar as they posted rounds of 81 and 82 respectively.

The Championship was due to take place at La Reserva Golf Club but due to bad weather conditions the Spanish Golf Federation has taken the following decision: “The Spanish Amateur will be played in its totality at La Cañada Golf Club depending on the weather forecast, the Championship Committee may take the decision of changing the championship format. The decision will be taken in the next few days and will be posted on all the information boards.”

An official explained that depending on the weather forecast, the committee could decide to change the format to medal play.

Under normal circumstances, the top 32 after 36 holes of medal play qualify for the matchplay stages.