Irish Open bound Shane Lowry gave his Walker Cup selection hopes a boost when he fired a four-under par 66 to take a two-shot lead after the first round of the Lytham Trophy.

The Irish world amateur No 15, who will tee it up in The 3 Irish Open at Baltray in two weeks' time, had seven birdies and three bogeys on his card.

Newlands' Andrew Hogan is seventh after a one-over par 71 with Dara Lernihan tied for 66th after a 76.

But it was a day to forget for Paul Cutler (79), Cian Curley (80) and Nialll Kearney (82). See scores

Lowry will be joined at County Louth by East of Ireland champion Eoin Arthurs, Aussie amateur Scott Arnold and Portugal's Pedro Figueiredo, who defends the Irish Amateur Open title at Royal Dublin next week.

Irish Region players John Kelly, Philip Walton, Robert Giles, Simon Thornton, Eamonn Brady, Damian Mooney, Barrie Trainor and John Dwyer will also tee it up at Baltray.

American John Daly, senior Des Smyth and Italian Emanuele Canonica have been handed sponsor's invitations with five more to be confirmed over the next week.

So far, 20 Irish players have secured their places in the field with the likes of Jonny Caldwell, Michael McGeady, Colm Moriarty, Gareth Shaw, Noel Fox, Alan Murray and Richard Kilpatrick waiting in the wings.



Simon THORNTON Royal County Down IRL 4
Eamonn BRADY Clontarf GC IRL 5
Damian MOONEY   NIR 6
Barrie TRAINOR South County IRL 7