Stephen Grant. Birr’s Stephen Grant faces an uphill battle to make next month’s final stage of the Q-School.

The former footballer opened with a one over 72 at Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club to share 50th place at a Second Stage venue where only the top 20 and ties make the final stage battle for Tour cards.

Starting on the back nine, the Offaly man was three under par with eight holes to play when he followed birdies at the 12th and 14th with another at the first.

But he finished poorly, dropping four shots over the last six holes to find himself three strokes outside the top 20 and seven shots off the lead.