Cutler leads Irish challenge in Australian Amateur

Portstewart's Paul Cutler birdied his last two holes to share eighth place after the first round of the Srixon Australian Amateur Championships in Adelaide today.

The Ulsterman trails Australians Matthew Griffin and John Young by just two shots after a two-under par 70 at The Grange - going out in two-over before scorching home in four under.

County Louth's Simon Ward was level par after nine holes following two birdies and two bogeys, but had to settle for a 73 and tied 28th after dropping a further shot on the back nine.

Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney was also two-over par after nine holes and went three over at the 17th before a closing birdie gave him a round of 74.

Hot on the heels of his Sotogrande Cup win, Irish champion Shane Lowry failed to make a birdie in a three-over par 75 and is tied for 83rd.

The Irish players will play their second round at Royal Adelaide on Tuesday with the top-100 in the 300-strong field making the cut.

The strokeplay champion will be crowned after 72 holes with the leading 32 players advancing to the first round of the matchplay championship on Friday.

Ireland's quartet of challengers will be hoping for a strong performance to convince selectors that they should be included in the Eisenhower Trophy team which will compete for the World Amateur Team Championship in Adelaide from 16-29 October.

Srixon Australian Amateur Championships

At Royal Adelaide GC (par 73) & The Grange Golf Club (par 72), South Australia

(Australian unless stated, * indicates Grange GC)

1 Matthew Griffin 68*, Josh Young 68*

3 Ryan McCarthy 70, Alan Haughie 69*, Dale Whitnell (Eng) 69*, Alex Peade 69*, Michael Foster 69*.

Irish scores

T8 Paul Cutler (Portstewart) 70*

T28 Simon Ward (Co Louth) 73*

T 50 Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin) 74*

T 83 Shane Lowry (Esker Hills) 75*