Forrest Little’s Eoin Arthurs carded a course-record 68 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the AIB Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin.
The 24-year old Dubliner only squeaked into the elite 120-man field as 14th reserve and was forced to take time off work at a Dublin driving range just to compete.
But he took full advantage of his start to chisel out the only sub-70 score on a benign opening day before heading off to for the late shift at The Kinsealy Grange driving range near Malahide.
“I was supposed to be in work at three o’clock but I had to ring and tell them I was going to be a little bit late,” said Arthurs, who had an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in a four under par effort that featured just 26 putts.
Oliver Serres of France, Scotland’s Paul O’Hara, Norwegian Anders Kristiansen - the recently crowned Australian Amateur champion - and English pair Billy Hemstock and Ben Newsome all shot two under par 70’s to share second place.
Irish champion Shane Lowry bogeyed two of his last four holes but is still lurking just three shots off the pace in a share of seventh place with Banbridge's Connor Doran after a one-under par 71.
“It could have been a lot better, mid 60s to be honest. But I didn't hole the putts,” said Lowry, who felt the greens were on the bumpy side. "Still, a 71 is not out of the tournament and I'm still there. I could have shot four under easily. That's the way it goes, that's golf.”
It was a similar tale for Doran, who added: "It could have been a 61. I just couldn't get the ball in the hole."
Warrenpoint's Jim Carvill was three under par after 11 holes but was forced to settle for a level par 72 after bogeys at the 13th, 15th and 17th.
Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney had to settle for a level par 72 but The K Club’s Michael Lavelle crashed to a 78 after getting just four hours sleep following a frenzied overnight trip from his brother’s wedding in Malta.
Set to turn professional in next week’s Irish Open at Adare Manor, the former Belmullet cabinet-maker only arrived at the course with 90 minutes to spare before his 10.30 am tee-tome after a red-eye flight from Luton.
He said: “I’m knackered now. Hopefully we can do a bit better tomorrow, finish well and get ready for next week.”
AIB Irish Amateur Open, Royal Dublin (Par 72)
68: E Arthurs (Forrest Little)
70: O Serres (France), P O'Hara (Scotland), A Kristiansen (Norway), B Hemstock (England), B Newsome (England)
71: S Lowry (Esker Hills), C Doran (Banbridge)
72: G Cambis (France), X Poncelet (France), N Kearney (Royal Dublin), D Lernihan (Castle), M Thistleton (England), M Durcan (Co Sligo), J Carvill (Warrenpoint)
73: J Roth (Denmark), M Oueld-Es-Cheikh (France), P Murray (Limerick), H Satama (Finland), J Mikkelsen (Norway), N Gorey (Lee Valley), P Figueiredo (Portugal), K McNicoll (Scotland), P Cutler (Portstewart), E Richardson (England), C Curley (Newlands), F Keenan (England), M Delay-Termoz (France), R Kellett (Scotland), J Fox (Portmarnock), F De Vries (Holland), E Kennedy (Rosapenna), J Brun (France)
74: R Carson (Scotland), R Cannon (L'town & B'town), R Durnin (L'town & B'town), L Cohen-Boyer (France), Z Gould (Wales), M Veijalainen (Finland), G Dear (Scotland), B Walton (The Island), J Lerchedahl (Denmark), A Levy (France), R Hooper (Wales)
75: J Guilllet (France), M Stewart (Scotland), S Malone (Australia), G Ozcan (Turkey), L Weber (France), L Eriksson (Finland), D Antonelli (France), T Pollari (Finland), J Smedley (England), F Rouilleaux (France), C Macaulay (Scotland), V Guillaume (France), J Lyons (Galway)
76: J Morris (Rosslare), R Zwahlen (France), F Illouz (France), M Hillson (Scotland), A Hogan (Newlands), C Perrot (France), N Henderson (Scotland), J Stalter (France), F Abadie (France), P McLean (Scotland), S Henry (Scotland), E O'Sullivan (The Island)
77: S Gautier (France), A McAllister (Portmarnock), O Sharpe (England), J Gallagher (Scotland), R McCarthy (The Island), G Yates (Scotland), R Leonard (Banbridge), A Knappe (Germany), P O'Hanlon (Curragh), M Hocaoglu (Turkey), N Grant (Knock), G Lawlor (City West), T Dreher (France), J Monaghan (The Island), Z Saltman (Scotland), S Brown (England), W Booth (Scotland)
78: E Mercadier (France), E Vieilledent (France), J Lando-Casanova (France), R McGee (Malone), L Tintera (Czech Republic), B Fennelly (The Royal Dublin), R Boal (Castle), M Lavelle (K Club), M Novy (Czech Republic), K McDonagh (Athlone), R McKnight (Scotland)
79: S McAllister (Scotland), D Bobrowski (France), S Webster (Castle), R Dupuis (France)
80: T Gornik (Slovenia), L Lennox (Moyola Park), K McAlpine (Scotland), E McAnoy (Knock), G Hall (Edenderry), A Gabella-Wenne (Sweden)
81: G Blainey (England)
82: N Peyrichou (France), T Linard (France), X Feyaerts (Belguim)
83: A Pierse (Tipperary), E Charmat (France)
84: K Turlan (France), M Sinclair (Knock), N Dean (England)
85: J Prince (England)
91: A Arnaudet (France)
RTD: M O'Sullivan (USA), E McCormack (Galway)