Walker Cup hero Paul Cutler has a mountain to climb after opening with a five over par 77 at the First Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.
The 22-year old from Portstewart is tied for 76th place in the Section D qualifier at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire, where Mark Staunton leads six Irish challengers after a level par 72.
Staunton is tied for 15th after the opening round at a venue where the top 25 and ties - one over par after round one - will progress to Stage Two in Spain in December.
Cutler is just five strokes outside the mark but while he still has plenty of time to inch his way up the leaderboard, he cannot afford another poor day.
Waterville’s David Higgins opened his account with a 74 as Dara Lernihan and Mike Kelly posted 75’s and Bowood’s Nicky Brennan a 76.
However, there was better news from the six Irish in action at Ribagolfe in Portugal, where Ballymena’s Chris Devlin, Derry’s Mick McGeady and St Margarets’s John Kelly are tied for fifth after two under 70’s.
Portuguese amateur Tiago Rodrigues set a bliistering pace with an eight under par 64 at a venue where the top 25 and ties after four rounds will progress.
Ballyliffin’s Brendan McCarroll is also well placed in a share of 14th after a 71. However Fergal Rafferty will have hoped for better than a 73 while Fota Island’s Thomas O’Flynn shot a 76.
First Round Scores from the European Tour Qualifying School – First Qualifying Stage Section D, Ribagolfe, Lisbon, Portugal, par 72.
64 T Rodrigues (am) (Por) ,
67 V Blazquez (Esp) ,
68 R De Sousa (Sui) ,
69 D McGuigan (RSA) ,
70 B McDonald (Zim) , Chris Devlin (Nir) , O Bekker (RSA) , P Cassagne (Fra) , R Furrer (Sui) , A Sjöstrand (Swe) , Mick McGeady (Irl) , John Kelly (Irl) , T Shadbolt (Eng) ,
71 M Azcue (Mex) , R Bastard (Eng) , X Poncelet (Fra) , J Billing (Swe) , Brendan McCarroll (Irl) , A Long (USA) , J Adarraga Gomez (Esp) ,
72 J Kennegard (Swe) , J Gibb (Eng) , S Abreu (Aus) , M Bey (Fra) , R Quiros (Esp) , I Van Weerelt (Ned) , J Kelly (USA) , B Detweiler (USA) , B Pettersson (Swe) , D Coughlan (Eng) ,
—-End of top 25 and ties—-
73 B Vaughan (RSA) , X Guzman (Esp) , N Ledesma (Arg) , A Hedlund (Swe) , L Campbell (Eng) , Fergal Rafferty (Irl) , F De Haas (Ned) , S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) , C Perez Barberan (Esp) , P Croonquist (am) (USA) ,
74 C Balmaseda (Esp) , J Byrne (Sco) , J Ochoa (Esp) , S Wolters (Ger) , O Fraustro (Mex) , C Orozco (Esp) , T Sundström (Fin) , P Menjibar (Esp) , L Johansen (Den) , P Rasmussen (am) (Den) ,
75 J Fernandez (Esp) , N Floren (Swe) , S Franky (Col) , J Mommo (Fin) , D Noh (Esp) , R Thomas (Wal) , J Little (Eng) , J Van Der Vaart (Ned) , T Murphy (USA) , K Sullivan (Wal) , J Gallegos (am) (Esp) ,
76 J Chevallier (Fra) , G Vicente Elena (Esp) , A Sagar (Eng) , N Bermudo (Esp) , F Adarraga (Esp) , B Houle (Can) , E Barry-Walsh (Eng) , D Renfro (USA) , R Lopez Perales (Esp) , R Lantsoght (Esp) , J Foret (Fra) ,
77 A Wilson (USA) , J San Felix (Esp) , Thomas O’Flynn (Irl) , P Simard (Esp) , J James (Esp) ,
78 A Columbia (USA) , S Boyd (Imn) , M Antona (Eng) , N Chaudhuri (Eng) , N Gillespie (Nzl) , H Santos (Por) , G Seegmuller (Bel) , A Castineira Marcos (Esp) , H Dobson (Eng) , J Fransson (Swe) , P Ceron (Mex) , G Jackson (Eng) , A Rosado (Por) , C Cousins (Wal) ,
79 P Ellerstrom (Swe) , J Martikainen (Fin) , S Gutierrez (Esp) ,
80 M Bosse (Ger) , J Asikainen (Fin) , D Borda (Esp) , T Kogler (Aut) , M Lester (Eng) ,
81 J Monroy (Arg) ,
82 A Arjona (Esp) , A Cuenca (Esp) ,
83 H Yamac (Tur) , J Fuentes (Esp) ,
84 J Lee (Esp) ,
88 Y Shin (am) (Kor) ,
90 P Sikkelee (USA) ,
*108 C Chapa (USA) ,
** M Pilkington (Wal) , B Rollinson (Eng) ,
**M Pilkington WD before Rnd 1, **B Rollinson RETD during Rnd 1, *C Chapa WD for Rnd 2
First Round Scores from the European Tour Qualifying School – First Qualifying Stage Section D, Frilford Heath, Abingdon, par 72.
67 D Whitnell (Eng) ,
68 M Lemesurier (Eng) , R Karlberg (Swe) ,
70 J Cunliffe (RSA) , M Sell (Eng) , L Robinson (Eng) , D Griffiths (Eng) ,
71 T Hatton (Eng) , S Matton (Eng) , S Lilly (Eng) , J Watts (Eng) , T King (am) (Eng) , L Noott (am) (Eng) , C Hinton (am) (Eng) ,
72 K Pratt (Aus) , J Westwood (Eng) , J Oliphant (Eng) , L O’Neill (Eng) , Mark Staunton (Irl) , J Banbury (Eng) , W Johnson (Eng) , M Jager (Aus) , J Kavanagh (Eng) , C Gill (Eng) ,
73 I Brown (Eng) , S Dhaduk (Pak) , W Bennett (Eng) , S Mitchell (Eng) , S Hodgson (Eng) , E Pepperell (Eng) , B Phillips (Wal) , R Laino (Eng) , N Jones (Ber) , B Stow(am) (Eng) ,
—-End of top 25 and ties—-
74 P Woodbury (USA) , S Fallon (Eng) , T Denton (USA) , S McAnally (Eng) , E Porter (Aus) , A Wootton (Eng) , R Tipping (RSA) , S McDonagh (Eng) , G Woodman (Eng) , David Higgins (Irl) , D Perrett (Eng) , J Webber (Eng) , T Burden (Eng) , G Paterson (am) (Sco) ,
75 D Thomas (Eng) , Mike Kelly (Irl) , A Butterfield (Eng) , T Vickers (Eng) , N Cheetham (Eng) , M Allen (Eng) , W Harmston (Eng) , J Poulton (Eng) , L Burns (Eng) , L Mason (Eng) , Dara Lernihan (Irl) , D Thomas (Wal) , H Sayin (am) (Tur) , M Allen (am) (Eng) , R Kellett (am) (Sco) , T Adcock (am) (Eng) ,
76 R Edwards (Aus) , J Evans (Eng) , M Mackman (Eng) , D Seymour (Eng) , T Boys (Eng) , M Smith (Eng) , A Carson (Eng) , N Howell (Eng) , K Crossland (Eng) , R Harrison (Eng) ,
77 S Grewal (Eng) , K McNicoll (Sco) , D White (Eng) , Paul Cutler (Nir) , L Bangerter (Eng) , M Davenport (Eng) , D Law (Sco) , D Rickwood (am) (Eng) ,
78 L Canter (Eng) , J Horn (Eng) , J Feather (Eng) , Nicky Brennan (Irl) , F Jewsbury (Eng) , I Redford (Sco) , C Von Borsig (USA) , B Vongvanij (USA) , M Chamberlain (Eng) , J Galante (Esp) , A Mawji (Eng) ,
79 J Ashton (Eng) , B O’Dell (Eng) , P Newman (Eng) , M Smith (am) (Eng) ,
80 J Carter (Eng) , W Roebuck (Eng) , G Gancedo Onieva (Esp) , D Gwilliam (Eng) , P Bannon (Can) ,
81 M Hodgson (Aus) , M McCormack (Eng) , B Cummings (Eng) ,
82 M Hillson (Sco) , M Floyd (Eng) ,
83 R Gurney (Eng) , R Carter (Eng) , N Smith (Eng) ,
95 M Packard (Eng) ,