Gavin Moynihan took up where he left off on Sunday when he opened with a four under par 68 in the South African Stroke Play Championship at Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
Just two days after losing out to local boy Ian Snyman after a four-hole play-off for the Eastern Province / Border Stroke Play Championship title, the 20 year old from The Island ended the day tied for fifth place with Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin at the same track.
The Irish pair are just three strokes behind 18-year old Scot Ewen Ferguson, who took advantage of ideal conditions to post an immaculate, seven under par 65 for a one stroke lead over Ugo Coussaud of France.
Sixteen year old South African Eric Wowor chipped in for a pair of eagles on his way to a share of third with Frenchman Jeremy Gandon on five under 67 as Moynihan made an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in his 68.
Sharvin, who along with Moynihan is one of five Irish players in the recently announced Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup squad, had five birdies and a solitary bogey in his 68.
West Waterford's Gary Hurley, another member of the GB&I squad, is tied for 18th after a two under 70 featuring an eagle and four birdies while Ballymena's Dermot McElroy and Naas' Jack Hume posted level par 72s.
According to Lali Stander, writing on the South African Golf Association website:
Ferguson, who led the Great Britain and Ireland Boys team to victory in the Jacques Leglise Trophy last year, signalled his intentions with a sixth place finish in the Gauteng North Stroke Play at the end of January.
However, the 2014 Scottish Boys Match Play and Stroke Play champion was a little uncertain what to expect in Port Elizabeth after relentless rain pounded the course on Monday.
“It rained so much during our practice round on Monday that some us almost got home sick,” the Bearsden golfer joked.
“I had to play the full 18 holes, though, because I haven’t played this course before. It was great go out there in sunlight, though.
“Without the wind, the course is pretty defenceless. It’s hard to describe, but for the course has this Parklands feel with a links flavour. It’s a real classic.”
The Scotsman got off to a birdie-birdie start, collect another pair of birdies at the eighth and ninth and reeled in another brace of birdies at the 13th and 14th holes.
The 2013 British Boys Championship winner notched his seventh birdie when he drained a 30-foot putt at the par-four 17th.
“I boxed a few short ones, and holed some long ones on the second, ninth, 13th and 17th, so the putter was working well overall,” Ferguson said. “It can always be better, but all in, I’m pleased to be in a strong position early on.”
South African Stroke Play Championship, Port Elizabeth Golf Club (Par 72)
65 Ewen Ferguson SCO
66 Ugo Coussaud FRA
67 Eric Wowor; Jeremy Gandon FRA
68 Ian Snyman; Rupert Kaminski; Siegmund Human; Gavin Moynihan; Cormac Sharvin
69 Dylan Naidoo; Luke Trocado; Bryce McCabe; Daniel Young SCO; Johan Germishuys; Fezekile Kana; Kyle Barker; Marco Steyn
70 Daniel Mantel; Scott Gibson SCO; Darin de Smidt; Craig Ross SCO; Gary Hurley; Andrew van der Knaap; Michael-James Steyn; Rosswell Sinclair; Alexandre Daydou FRA
72 Dermot McElroy, Jack Hume
73 Robin Dawson
77 Colm Campbell
78 Richard Bridges
81 John-Ross Galbraith