From Brian Keogh at San Roque
Colm Moriarty got his Q-School marathon off to the perfect start with a two under par 70 at San Roque.
The Glasson man, 27, had four birdies and two bogeys on the Old Course to finish the day in a 20-man logjam for 10th place - four shots behind leader Robert Coles of England.
But it was a disappointing day for the rest of the Irish as Peter O'Keeffe bogeyed two of the last three for a 74 and Damian Mooney, Stephen Browne and Michael McGeady all hit three over 75s.
Like Moriarty, they know there is still a long way to go in the gruelling 108-hole test where the top 30 after six rounds gets tour cards.
Beaming, Moriarty said: "It's such a long week but every good round you get under your belt is one less you have to worry about.
"I played lovely, the way you want to play. Hit a lot of greens and putted nicely.
"Two under out there is a good score any day. But the one thing I have learnt from being here twice before is that it is an absulute marathon."
On a day when 58 players broke par, Douglas giant O'Keeffe had to settle for a two over par 74 on the Old Course that left him tied for 102nd.
He was level par with three to play after bouncing back from bogeys at the sixth and eighth with birdies at the par five ninth and 10th.
But he missed the green at the par three 16th and then leaked a 270-yard four wood into the lake at the long 17th to drop another shot.
Disappointed, O'Keeffe said: "I didn't hit the ball very well today but my chipping and putting was good and that kept the round together.
"I took on the green at the par-five 17th and it turn out not to be the right shot, obviously."
Derry ace McGeady had a similar finish on his way to a 75 on the Old Course, sandwiching birdies at his 16th and 18th between a triple bogey seven at the tough, par-four eighth.
Three over par with five to play after starting at the 10th, he holed putts of 12 and 20 feet at the fifth and seventh to get back to one over before that roller coaster finish.
He said: "On my 17th I hit a lovely drive it was only a three-iron in but I just pushed it and caught the tree and it rolled down the bottom the hill.
"I duffed the chip, which came back to me and after chipping on, I three-putted.
"It was a wee bit frustrating but it was nice to finish with a birdie. I know I can play a lot better so that's a nice feeling to go out with tomorrow."
Belfast man Mooney and Dubliner Browne both struggled with their games as they shot 75 on the New Course.
Mooney said: "I had lots of chances but I just didn't take them. I struggled with my wedge play and missed three greens from inside 130 yards and made bogey each time."
Browne was two under after four holes but bogeyed six out of ten holes midway through the round before picking up a shot on the 16th.
Browne said: "Overall it was a little bit of damage limitation. Three over is not a disaster in the first round.
"I'd expect to have a couple of good numbers myself and there are still 90 holes to go. If that's my bad round, things could be okay."