Rory McIlroy blasted a two under par 70 at the first stage of the Qualifying School and roared: I’m bang on course for my card.

The Holywood ace, 18, is tied for 14th at the Oxfordshire where the top 29 and ties will progress to November’s second stage.

He dropped just two shots all day, duffing a three-iron into the water at the 211-yard fifth and failing to save par from sand at the 18th.

But he was upbeat about his chances of progressing and looking forward to his pro debut in next week’s British Masters at The Belfry.

He said: “We were waiting a long time on the tee at the fifth and I just duffed it - it was fat and off the toe. Just a bad shot all round

“I played lovely part from that and I’ll take three 70s now - that will be enough.

“It’s completely different here with the green wet and holding to what we were playing at the weekend in the Walker Cup.

“I am hitting it very well – but by the end of the round there had been a lot of traffic on the greens and they were a bit bumpy.

“I was pretty happy. I am still concentrating on the five invites I have got over the next few weeks, but this is route B and I am on course.”

Eamonn Brady (73) and Damian Mooney (76) are struggling at the Oxfordshire.

But at Fleesensee in Germany, Stackstown’s Michael McDermott hit a five under par 67 to grab a share of the lead with club mate Mark Campbell a shot further back on four under.

At Chart Hills, Mick McGeady hit a three under par 69 to lie just two shots off the lead with Michael Collins, Glen Robinson and David Mortimer well placed on 70.

Chris Devlin’s 71 was also positive with Peter Williamson, Brendan McGovern and Gary Cullen inside the top 30 on level par 72.

St Margaret’s John Kelly (73), Mark Murphy (74), Mark Staunton (74), David Jones (75) and Ted Higgins (76) have work to do.