Turner leads Irish at Amateur

By Brian Keogh

Muskerry's Niall Turner closed with an eagle three to lead the Irish challenge in the first qualifying round of the British Amateur Championship in Lancashire.

The Cork ace fired four birdies in the space of seven holes from the sixth before finishing out in style for a six under par 66 at St Anne's Old Links.

A total of 288 players from 29 countries are battling for the top 64 spots in Wednesday's matchplay stages at Royal Lytham & St Annnes.

Walker Cup hopeful David Horsey set the early pace when he equalled the course record at Royal Lytham & St Annes with a sizzling, seven-under par 64

The 22-year-old England cap, from the Styal club in Manchester, recovered from a bogey on his first hole to match the record set by Tom Lehman on his way to winning the 1996 Open Championship

Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell and Birr's Stephen Grant were well placed on 67 while Euopean champion Rory McIlroy opened eagle-birdie at St Annes Old Links as he fired a three under par 69.

British Amateur Championship
Selected scores (RL = Royal Lytham & St Annes Par 71, SA = St Annes Old Links Par 72)

64 David Horsey (Styal, RL)

65 David Corsby (Fleetwood, SA), Craig Evans (West Monmouthshire, SA), Kevin McAlpine (Alyth, RL)
66 Niall Turner (Muskerrry, SA)

67 Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye, RL), Stephen Grant (Birr, SA)

68 Richard Kilpatrick (Bambridge, SA), Simon Ward (Co Louth, RL)

69 Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin, RL) Shane Lowry (Esker Hills, SA), Rory McIlroy (Holywood, SA)

71 Gareth Shaw (Lurgan, RL)

72 Seamus Power (West Waterford, SA), Joe Lyons (Galway, SA)

78 Aaron O'Callaghan (Douglas, RL)

79 Jim Carvill (Warrenpoint, RL)