Murphy gets hot at Frilford Heath
Mark Murphy is aiming high. .Picture:

Mark Murphy is aiming high. .Picture:

Mark Murphy produced a storming finish to open with a four under 68 and lead the Irish charge after the opening day of the PGA EurproTour Qualifying School at Frilford Heath.

Scoreboard [PDF / Web]

The Waterville talent, 36, was two over par after just six holes on the Blue Course at the Oxfordshire venue.

But he birdied the eight and 10th to get back to level and then picked up another four shots in his last six holes, reeling off birdies at the 13th, 15th, 17th and 18th to end the day tied for seventh.

He's just three strokes behind English pair David Booth and Christopher Forsyt, who both shot 65s on the Red Course to head the 240-man field.

Ireland has seven players in action and three of them are in position to make the cut for the top 80 and ties on Thursday before a final round on the Blue Course on Friday will decide their ranking category for the 2014 season. 

Banbridge's Richard Kilpatrick, the former East of Ireland winner, is tied for 12th after a 69 on the Blue Course that featured three birdies and an eagle two at his 14th hole, the fifth.

Former footballer Stephen Grant, now playing out of The Heritage, matched Kilpatrick on the same track with an immaculate, error free 69 that he said was his best performance for some time.

Castlerock's Aaron Kearney, now based at West Middlesex Golf Club, is tied for 24th after a rollercoaster 70 on the Red Course.

The 2011 Irish Close runner up started on the back nine and was two under with six to play before bogeys at the fourth and fifth put him back to square one.

However, he then made a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth to get to three under before finishing with a bogey four at the ninth.

Killeen Castle's Ricky Weldon double bogeyd the 17th on the Red Course and posted a 75 that left him 161st on three over.

Back in the Blue, Whipsnade Park's Noel Quinn ended up 199th on five over after a 77 as Royal Portrush's Matt McAlpin could make just two birdies in a disappointing 78.