Michael McDermott laid down an early marker ahead of the 104th Irish PGA Championship sponsored by the Down Syndrome Centre, carding a superb six under par 63 to win the pre-tournament Pro-Am at Adare Manor.
The 34-year-old, played his opening nine holes in one under par 34 but caught fire after the turn, putting together a stunning run of birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle from the 10th on his way to a back nine of five under 29.
McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) comes into this week's event on the back of some excellent form. He finished fifth at last week's HBE Risk Management PGA Ulster Championship and is currently fourth in the Order of Merit.
“I'm playing nicely at the minute and looking forward to getting going in the tournament,” said Michael who finished fourth behind winner Michael McGeady in last year's Irish Championship.
Defending champion McGeady, getting his first sight of the venue, carded a one over par 70, that included a four-putt from five feet.
“I feel this event will be won and lost on the greens. It's tight off the tee, but the greens are tricky, as I found out. Getting the right side of the flag will be very important. Get on the wrong side and it can be difficult,” said McGeady who made it through to the second stage of European Tour qualifying last week.
In the team event, Kilkenny GC professional, Jimmy Bolger, guided his amateur partners of Barry Leddin, Chris Ahern and Dermot Doolan to a one point victory over Lahinch GC's Donal McSweeney and his team of Brian Murray, Patsy O'Sullivan and Bart Mylan.
As for the Irish PGA Championship proper, a quality field has been assembled with top women professionals Hazel Kavanagh and Marian Riordan set to do battle with experienced tour players such as Order of Merit leader Colm Moriarty, former winner David Higgins, Michael McGeady, Niall Kearney, Raymie Burns, Damian Mooney, John McHenry and the cream of the PGA Irish Region circuit — Brendan McGovern, Neil O'Briain, Cian McNamara, John Kelly, David Ryan, Mark O'Sullivan, Jimmy Bolger, Graham Dunlea and Noel Murray, to name a few.
Irish PGA Championship Pro-Am in association with Down Syndrome Centre
Individual (Click for full scoreboard)
1 Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) -6
2 Noel Murray (Massereene GC) -3
3 Robert Giles (Greenore GC) -2
3 Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) -2
3 James Quinlivan (Mullingar GC) -2
6 Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny GC) -1
6 David Mortimer (Galway GC) -1
6 Brendan McGovern (Headfort GC) -1
6 Mark Staunton (Delgany GC) -1
10 Wayne O'Callaghan (Fernhill Golf & CC) E
Team Prizes (Click for full scores)
99 Jimmy Bolger with Barry Leddin, Chris Ahern and Dermot Doolan
98 Donal McSweeney with Brian Murray, Patsy O'Sullivan, Bart Mylan.