England’s Jonathan Hurst has set his sights on gaining some West of Ireland revenge after a level par 71 gave him the first round lead at wind-blown Rosses Point.
The 22-year-old from Chorley in Lancashire was disappointed that he failed to cope with the pressure from the local crowds last year when he lost a tense quarter-final battle with Strandhill’s Tommy McGowan on the 18th.
But he looks like he will take some stopping this year after a brilliant back nine earned him a one-stoke lead over Lee Valley’s Niall Gorey with long-time leader Eoin Arthurs from Forrest Little a shot further back after a two-over par 73.
“The crowds got to me a bit against Tommy,” said Hurst, who went out in three-over par 39 but then reeled off a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th and erased a bogey at the 15th with a birdie at the last. “But it was enjoyable and I am hoping to get my revenge this year.”
Friday’s first round was postponed due to high winds but conditions were still tough as more than half the 120-strong field failed to break 80.
Title favourites Simon Ward and Shane Lowry carded four-over par 75s as defending champion Joe Lyons dropped four shots late in his round for a 77.
But veteran Barry Reddan faces an uphill task to qualify inside the top 64 today after taking a triple bogey seven at the second and three-putting six times in a disappointing 82.
Radisson-SAS West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship
Qualifying, 1st rd
71 J Hurst (Shaw Hill, England)
72 N Gorey (Lee Valley)
73 E Arthurs (Forrest Little)
74 C Cunningham (Carton House), D Finn (Mallow), P Buckley (Kanturk)
75 D Downie (Sutton), S Lowry (Esker Hills), E McCormack (Galway), S Ward (Co Louth), B Jones (England), G McDermott (Co Sligo), S Crowe (Dunmurry), E OíSullivan (The Island), H Diamond (Holywood), C Curley (Newlands)
76 M Durcan (Co Sligo), K McDonagh (Athlone), J Patterson (Knock), C OíConnor (Athlone), R Leonard (Banbridge), G Patterson (Moray), A Christie (England), M Hemphill (Portstewart), P OíHanlon (Curragh), A Hogan (Newlands), R McCarthy (The Island), T Neenan (Lahinch)
77 N Steven (Scotland), J Lyons (Galway), G Hall (Edenderry), M Lavelle (K Club), D Sutton (England), D Morgan (Mullingar), B Cashman (Belvoir Park), R Cannon (Lítown and Bítown)
78 K Stack (Dungarvan), G Lawlor (City West), D Lernihan (Castle), P Purdy (Shandon Park), B Keenan (Heath), C Doran (Banbridge), N Kearney (Royal Dublin), B Keenan (Heath)
79 B Galway (Cairndhu), M Sinclair (Knock), R Boal (Scrabo), D Crowe (Dunmurry), N Grant (Knock), R Maher (Nenagh), JP Hughes (Douglas)
80 T McGowan (Strandhill), G Kelly (Co Louth), B Walton (The Island), D OíDonovan (Muskerry), J Monaghan (The Island), J Senior (England), M Hammond (Moyola Park), P Cutler (Portstewart), A McCormick (Scrabo), P McGrath (Dromoland)
81 S Paul (Tandragee), A Harty (West Waterford), J Fox (Portmarnock), T OíFlynn (Fota Island), D Kelleher (Portmarnock), B Fowles (England), G Dillon (The Heath), W McCully (Donaghadee), R Durnin (Lítown and Bítown), N Boyd (Donaghadee), R McConnell (Belvoir Park), G Carew (Edenderry), G McKenna (Fortwilliam)
82 A Dowling (Hermitage), R McGee (Spain), G McGloin (Bundoran), I Winstanley (England), C Selfridge (Moyola Park), B Reddan (Co Louth), A Moran (Tuam), G Boyd (Donaghadee), G Bohill (Co Louth), P Sheehy (Lahinch)
83 P Higgins (Mullingar), A Harrington (Cork), D McCusker (Moyola Park), C Keightly (Garforth), H Boch (Ballybunion), A McAllister (USA), S Webster (Castle), L Reilly (Galgorm Castle)
84 D Scully (Galway), D McNeill (Rosapenna), J McBurney (Donaghadee), S Moloney (Castletroy), D OíDriscoll (Ballybunion), M Horan (Birr), M Shanahan (West Waterford), C Drumm (Rosslare), D Lally (Tuam), E McAnoy (Knock), N OíConnor (Elm Park)
85 J Mulready (Castle), R McNamara (Headford), K McCarthy (Kinsale), R Weldon (Luttrellstown Castle), A McCloy (Ballymena), I Murphy (Waterford), K Thomas (England), M Collins (Sutton), M Buggy (Castlecomer)
86 A Carroll (Casltewarden), S Brady (Co Sligo), S Dwyer (Newlands)
87 B Anderson (Co Sligo)
88 A Wynne (Strandhill), A Wilson (Cairndhu)
89 S Morrison (City of Derry)
NR T Cleary (East Clare)