Amateur ace Shane Lowry stole the show at the course where his clubs were robbed just two years ago.

The Clara ace, 22, equalled the best Irish Open round by an amateur with a sensational five under par 67 matching the 25-year old record set by Arthur Pierse.

Son of Offaly football legend Brendan Lowry, the Walker Cup contender stormed back from two over after four with seven birdies in his last 14 holes.

And that left him as the leading Irish player ahead of world No 8 Padraig Harrington and boy wonder Rory McIlroy in a share of 10th.

A plus five handicap, Lowry said: “I played really well with no silly mistakes except for three putts at 13.

“I came here to make the cut and see what happened after that. I’m 16th in the amateur world ranking at the moment and a good week here could improved that considerably.”

Lowry was fifth in last week’s wind-lashed Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin, where the players were hanging off the back tees.

But with two top five finishes in the East, he’s hoping for more luck than he had two years ago, when his clubs were stolen from the car park.

He said: “ It’s nearly easier this week than it would be for the East. I hit it down the right at the first but that’s where the crowd was walking and I was able to hit four iron to the green.

“In the East, you could get a bad lie in there. I suppose these are one of the joys of pro golf.”

Just nine of the 23 Irish broke par with world No 50 Graeme McDowell crashing to a 77 he described as “terrible.”

Damien McGrane hit a 69 with Wexford man Larry O'Neill on the bag as he carded a 69 that featured an eagle at the short fourth.

Gary Murphy had a 70 with Darren Clarke frustrated not to take his chances after firing two birdies and an eagle in a 71 that left him alongside Michael Hoey, Clontarf pro Eamonn Brady and Paul McGinley - just inside the cut mark at one under.

Just 48 hours after watching his son Tyrone play a schools golf match, Clarke said: “He is making more birdies than his old man at the moment.  I’m working harder than ever but I am wasting shots .”

Veteran Des Smyth, 56, is just hoping to make the cut after shooting a level par 72 with his son Greg  - the winner of a €9.4 million Lotto jackpot last year - carrying his bag.

That left him tied for 90th with Noel Fox and Peter Lawrie as Gareth Maybin shot 73 and Gr McDowell crashed to a five over 77 that left him one shot behind the players in last place.

McDowell said: "I felt really good this morning but three-putted three times in the first ten holes and my speed putting was just awful.

“I was just bulleting everything past and combined it with bad driving.  It was one of those days. I've played worse and scored better but I just scored terribly. Terrible."