Team Ireland's SImon Thornton fired a three under par 67 to lead after the opening day of the Cairndhu Pro-Am.
The Team Ireland professional leads Noel Murray (Massereene GC) by a shot with James Quinlivan (Mullingar GC) a shot further back heading into Saturday's final round.
Pre-event favourite Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin), who is chasing a hat-trick of titles at the Co Antrim venue is six shots back after carding an opening 73.
Thornton has two wins to his name already this season on the Irish region circuit and made a flying start to proceedings at Cairndhu. Starting on the back nine he birdied the 12th, 14th, 16th and 18th to reach the turn in four under 32.
Dropped shots at the first and second halted his momentum but he responded with a birdie at the third. Another dropped shot followed at the fifth but he closed his round out with a birdie at the ninth to take a narrow lead into day two.
Caindhu Pro-Am, Cairndhu (Par 70)
Detailed scores (Day One)
1 S Thornton (Team Ireland) 67
2 N Murray (Massereene GC) 68
3 J Quinlivan (Mullingar GC) 69
4 D Higgins (Waterville GC) lvl
5 S Quinlan 71
T6 G Wardow (Spa); D Beattie (Deer Park Hotel); C Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) 72
T9 C Molloy (Blackwood GC); D Mooney (Ballyliffin); S Clinton (Letterkenny GC); E Brady (Clontarf GC); Barrie Trainor (Cairndhu GC) 73
Leading team scores (Day One)
1 J Quinlivan 90
2 C Carvill 87
3 S Thornton 86