Michael McDermott was inspired by double Open champion Padraig Harrington has he blasted an eight-under par 64 to lead the Challenge of Ireland presented by Glasson.

A product of the Stackstown club where Harrington learnt the game, McDermott confessed that his boyhood idol has had a major influence on his career.

And he even played like superstar Harrington yesterday as he birdied six of the first seven holes and had visions of shooting an incredible 59 at Glasson Golf Hotel and Country Club.

Bidding for Ireland's 13th pro win this season, McDermott said: “It was great to see Padraig win at The Open. It was fantastic that he backed up his win last year and did it again.

"Padraig was great with the young lads at Stackstown. He gave me lots of advice when I was younger and he was a bit of an inspiration when we were kids. It’s great to see what he’s done.”

McDermott birdied the first four holes, lipped out for another birdie at the fifth and then birdied the sixth and seventh to turn in six-under par 30.

Another birdie at the 10th put him seven under and while he bogeyed the 12th, he picked up shots at the 14th and 17th to lead by a stroke from big-hitting Argentine Estanislao Goya.

McDermott explained: “Shooting a 59 did cross my mind after the seventh, but there was an awful long way to go."

Waterville's David Higgins fired a brilliant six-under par 66 to share third place with former US and Irish Amateur champion Richie Ramsay.

But it was also a good day for Glasson touring pro Colm Moriarty, who birdied his last two holes for a 67 to finish in a log jam for fourth place.

A lowly 111th on the Challenge Tour rankings, Moriarty his hoping to hit top form in front of his home support.

He said: “It’s been an average year so far. On this tour if you are finishing 30th or 40th, you are going nowhere. I have been playing okay without putting great. But I putted quite nicely today and made a few saves early on."