Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick has endured a tough start to 2013 but his cares faded away as a sensational five under 66 left him just a shot off the lead in the Open International de la Mirabelle D’Or on the Alps Tour.
As Brendan McCarroll had a nine and a 10 in an opening 77 and Stephen Grant shot a two over 73, Kilpatrick ended the weather-delayed opening day in solo second place behind Italy’s Alessio Bruschi (64) at Golf de La Grange aux Ormes near Metz in northeast France.
The former East of Ireland champion, who has made just two cheques from his first six starts of the year to lie 77th in the Order of Merit, made six birdies and just one bogey in a controlled display.
With heavy rough making like hell for many in the field, Grant blamed poor wedge play as he posted a two over 73 that left him tied for 58th.
“Golf is tough game very surprised I finished two over today I was one under and had it on cruise control,” Grant said. “It felt easy, then I started making bogeys with wedges.”
It was even tougher for Ballyliffin’s McCarroll, who is fourth in the money list, as he signed for a six over 77 despite making three birdies and an eagle two.
The Donegal man began his day by following a quadruple bogey nine at the 10th with an eagle two at the 274-yard 11th.
But he then bogeyed the 12th and had a sextuple bogey 10 at the first before undoing some of the damage with birdies at the third, fifth and sixth.
On the Europro Tour, Derry’s Michael McGeady is tied for 10th, just five shots behind leader Alex Belt entering the final round of the PDC and World Snooker Open at Collingtree Park.
McGeady added a 69 to his opening 71 to get to four under par with Clandeboye’s Jonny Caldwell (71-70) a shot further back on three under.
Rick Weldon (67-76, -1), Neil O Briain (72-72, E) and Mark Staunton (73-72, +1) also made the one-over par cut but David Rawluk (five over), Tim Rice (five over), Cian Curley (six over), Gary Walsh (seven over) and Niall Kearney (14 over) made their exit.