Muskerry’s Niall Turner and Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney have decided to concentrate on the Asian Tour instead of heading to European Tour Q-School.
And it appears to be paying off with Turner tied for ninth after an opening, three under 69 left him three shots behind leader Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka in the Panasonic Open India at Delhi Golf Club with Kearney tied 26th after a one under 71.
“The conditions were far from ideal,” said Turner, who had four birdies and just one bogey in a 27-putt round. "It rained for most of our round and it was quite gusty out there. I’m delighted with a three-under to start.
"The rain wasn’t that bad and it was still playable. The greens were nice and soft which makes it easier.
"I’ve been playing very well since August. Overall there was just a lot of solid golf today.”
Two time Irish PGA champion Kearney had two birdies and just one bogey in his 71, using the blade just 27 times.
As for pace-setter Perera, who is searching for a first Asian Tour title, the Sri Lankan fired seven birdies to hold a one-shot advantage over an in-form Chiragh Kumar of India and Sattaya Supupramai of Thailand at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
DGC expert Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, N. Thangaraja of Sri Lanka, India’s Abhijit Chadha and Thai duo Thaworn Wiratchant, a two-time Asian Tour number one and Thitiphun Chuayprakong shared fourth place on 68s.
Perera, who lost in a three-way play-off in this event last year, turned in 34 highlighted by two opening birdies from close range. He enjoyed a late flourish with birdies on holes 14, 15, 17 and 18 to grab the outright lead.
“It is nice to start with two gimmie birdies. That gave me a lot of confidence,” said Perera, who holed 24 putts today. “I kept the ball in play and that’s the key to a good score here.”