McBride and O'Donovan forced to regroup in Portugal
The Island's Paul McBride. Picture Pat Cashman

The Island's Paul McBride. Picture Pat Cashman

The Island's Paul McBride recovered from a horror start to lead the Irish hopefuls after the first round of the Portuguese Amateur Open Strokeplay at Montado near Lisbon.

As Lucan's plus five handicapper Richard O'Donovan started 8-7 (quadruple bogey-double) but eventually regrouped to shoot 78, reigning Ulster Boys champion followed an early birdie at the 12th — his third — with four dropped shots in the next three holes as he went bogey-double bogey-bogey. 

But the 18-year old regrouped, birdied the 17th, the 18th and the seventh to post a level par 72 that left him tied for 17 and just five strokes behind Portugal's Joao Carlota, who fired a 67 to lead by a stroke from the impressive Italian Renato Paratore on five under par.

First round scoreboard [pdf]

Belvoir Park's Harry Diamond birdied the 16th and 18th to salvage a one over par 73 for a share of 27th while Faithlegg's Robin Dawson came back from three opening bogeys to shoot a two over 74 that left him tied for 39th in the 120-strong field. 

Stackstown's Richard Bridges dropped four shots in his last five holes to post a three over 75 that was matched by Claremorris' Stephen Healy. 

But it was a day to forget for O'Donovan as he began with a quadruple bogey eight at the first and then had a double bogey seven at the next.

In the end he did well to follow that with two birdies, two bogeys and 12 par for a six over 78 that left him tied for 82nd.

Matthew Wylie, meanwhile, was 94th after a seven over 79.