By Brian Keogh
Damian Mooney got his Q-School quest off to a sensational start at Stage Two in Spain.
The big-hitting Belfast man, 39, blasted a seven under par 65 to lead by two shots after the first round at Costa Ballena in Cadiz.
At total of 308 hopefuls are battling at four venues for 74 places in next week's Q-School finals at San Roque.
Making his eight bit for his card, Mooney is looking good to grab one of 20 places in the finals on offer at the Andalucian venue
World Cup bound Michael Hoey is struggling to make it after a three-over par 75 left him in 59th place.
But Hoey's World Cup partner Gareth Maybin is in better shape at Arcos Gardens near Jerez, where a 73 left him tied for 28th with 19 to qualify.
Ulsterman Chris Devlin leads the Irish challenge there in share of 11th place after a 71 with Glen Robinson 17th after a steady 72.
Stackstown's Michael McDermott, who has Padraig Harrington's brother Tadhg on the bag, struggled to a three over par 75.
But things are looking good for Royal County Down's Simon Thornton, who hit a three under par 69 to share fifth place at PGA de Catalunya in Girona.
The top 17 players qualify in Catalonia with England’s Gareth Davies leading on six under par after a 66.
Dubliners Gary Cullen and Noel Fox are just two shots outside the qualifying spots after level par 72s with Banbridge's Richard Kilpatrick in the pack after a 74.
Welshman Sion Bebb opened with a seven under par 65 to lead at Sherry Golf in Jerez where Douglas amateur Peter O'Keeffe is tied 17th after a one under par 71.
Derry's Mick McGeady did little damage with a 73 but Greystones' Alan Murray needs three good days to make it after an opening 78 left him 78th in the 76-strong field.
Sherry Golf Jerez (Par 72)
Leader -7; T17 P O'Keeffe 71; T31 M McGeady 73; 74th A Murray 78.
PGA de Catalunya (Par 72)
Leader -6: T5 S Thornton 69; T23 G Cullen 72, N Fox 72; T47 R Kilpatrick 74.
Arcos Gardens (Par 72)
Leader -5: T11 C Devlin 71; T17 G Robinson 72; T28 G Maybin 73; T43 M McDermott 75.
Golf Costa Ballena (Par 72)
Leader -7 D Mooney 65; T59 M Hoey 75.