Keith Nolan and Sean McTernan will need two sensational rounds to keep their PGA Tour dreams alive.

But Ulsterman Chris Devlin roared out of the blocks at the first stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying School with a first round 67.

Tennessee based Nolan added a three over par 75 to his opening 76 at the first stage at Cypresswood Golf Club in Texas and now has a mountain to climb to make it to next month’s second stage.

At seven over par, the former PGA Tour player from Bray looked set to finish 10 shots outside the top 30 at halfway with Sligo native McTernan on eight over after a 78-74 start at the same venue

Recovering from hand surgery, Nolan has missed the cut in all nine of his Nationwide Tour starts this season.

Devlin is tied for second at St. Johns Golf & Country Club in St Augustine, Florida, after firing an eagle two, six birdies and three bogeys in a five under 67.

Waterville's Mark Murphy is tied 46th at the same venue after a first round 74 with 2007 Walker Cup player Billy Horschel leading by a shot from Devlin and Garrett Frank after a 66.