Stephen GrantStephen Grant made a good start in this week’s Alps Tour event in Italy. Stephen Grant ignored his nagging back problems to storm home in 30 and put himself right in contention after the first round of the €40,000 Golf Asiago Open on the Alps Tour in northeast Italy.

Like Brendan McCarroll, the Birr man is already guaranteed his place at Stage Two of the European Tour Qualifying School.

But the 36-year old former professional footballer would love to take another giant step towards his dream and follow in the footsteps of Gareth Shaw by finishing in the top five on the Alps Tour Order of Merit at the end of the season to earn his Challenge Tour card.


His five under par back nine for an opening three under par 67 left him tied for fourth at Golf Club Asiago - midway between Trient and Treviso in Italy - just two shots adrift of leader Nicolas Tacher of France.

McCarroll, who opened with a five over 75 in Italy, is sitting in the hot-seat at fifth in the rankings with five events remaining after this week.

But Grant is just €2,234 behind him in 11th place and with two runne- up finishes to his credit already this term a maiden victory would catapult him closer to the big time,.

“Tough start scoring wise today,” the Birr native tweeted. “Was two-over through nine but played solid then and got it going for five under on back nine. Right in the mix with leaders.”