Gareth Shaw and Simon Thornton are just four shots off the pace after the first round of the Challenge Tour's Telenet Trophy.
The pair shot two under par 70s at Royal Waterloo in Belgium as Welshman Stuart Manley and Holland's Robin Swane opened with six under par 66s to lead by a shot from Francois Calmels and Carlos Rodiles.
But there was an Irish twist at the top with Manley managed by Dublin based Horizon Sports.
And the Welsh ace confessed that he took inspiration from the recent performances of his stablemates Michael Hoey, Shane Lowry and Ross Fisher.
Having retained his European Tour playing privileges for 2009 by progressing through qualifying school, Manley is playing his first European Challenge Tour event of the season after a relatively slow start to the campaign.
During that time he has watched his stablemates with Horizon Sports Management enjoy greater success, with Hoey winning his maiden title in Portugal and Gareth Maybin finishing runner up in South Africa, while Fisher was second in last week’s BMW PGA Championship seven days after Lowry won The 3 Irish Open as an amateur.
Manley feels their achievements can spur him on although the 30 year old remains dissatisfied with his overall game, despite not dropping a single shot in his opening round in Belgium.
“I’m happy with the start but my swing didn’t feel too good out there,” he said. “I also left a couple of shots out there although I was pleased with my putting overall.
“I’m using a new putter this week. I’ve not played for a couple of weeks so I’ve been practising with it and it worked well. I putted really nicely on Monday before I came out here.
“I’ve been struggling a bit this year with my long game and when that’s been right my putting has been off. The game just hasn’t gelled so far.
“I’ve watched what Michael Hoey and Gareth Maybin have done and it has given me a boost as I played as an amateur with these guys so I know I can compete with them. With golf it is just about getting everything together at the right time.”
Cork native Peter O'Keeffe opened with a level par 72 but Noel Fox, Colm Moriarty and Mick McGeady had to settle for one over par 73s.
Greystones' Alan Murray had a disappointing 75.
Telenet Trophy, Royal Waterloo
66 S Manley (Wal) , R Swane (Ned)
67 F Calmels (Fra) , C Rodiles (Esp) ,
68 C Gane (Eng) , F Praegant (Aut) , P Purhonen (Fin) , G Paddison (Nzl) ,
69 R Muntz (Ned) , R McEvoy (Eng) , J Arruti (Esp) , G Molteni (Ita) , N Joakimides (Fra) , M Morris (Eng) , V Riu (Fra) , D Nouailhac (Fra) , T Whitehouse (Eng) ,
70 R Steiner (Aut) , A Marshall (Eng) , O David (Fra) , A Butterfield (Eng) , S Henry (Sco) , S Walker (Eng) , J Wahlqvist (Swe) , Gareth Shaw (Nir) , R Russell (Sco) , A McArthur (Sco) , Simon Thornton (Irl) , J Abbate (Arg) , B Evans (Eng) , P Bocian (Swe) ,
71 J Quesne (Fra) , J Etulain (Arg) , L Westerberg (Swe) , L Saltman (Sco) , B Pettersson (Swe) , G Watremez (Bel) , M Tullo (Chi) , A Wagner (Arg) , J Clément (Sui) , S Robinson (Eng) , A Gee (Eng) , A Bruschi (Ita) , R Coles (Eng) , A Tampion (Aus) , B Hafthorsson (Isl) , A Grenier (Fra) , J Ruth (Eng) , M Wiegele (Aut) ,
72 S Jeppesen (Swe) , C Carranza (Arg) , J Morrison (Eng) , Q De Valensart (Bel) , C Günther (Ger) , J Moul (Eng) , P O'Keeffe (Irl) , D Ulrich (Sui) , G Houston (Wal) , A Bernadet (Fra) , A Hansen (Den) , A Zanini (Ita), M Kramer (Ger) ,
73 J Sjöholm (Swe) , P Baker (Eng) , C Moriarty (Irl) , K Brink (Swe) , M Zions (Aus) , D De Vooght (Bel) , M McGeady (Irl) , P Whiteford (Sco) , B Mason (Eng) , F Andersson Hed (Swe) , M Rominger (Sui) , N Colsaerts (Bel) , J Larsen (Nor) , C Brazillier (Fra) , J Guerrier (Fra) , N Meitinger (Ger) , R De Sousa (Sui) , A Högberg (Swe) , B Miarka (Ger) , B Alvarado (Chi) , A Ahokas (Fin) , J Little (Eng) , I Pyman (Eng) , J Zapata (Arg) , Noel Fox (Irl), J Lima (Por) ,
74 R Santos (Por) , M Rodriguez (Arg) , T Dykes (Wal) , C Russo (Fra) , M Jurgensen (Den) , C Monasterio (Arg) , T Feyrsinger (Aut) , M Cort (Eng) , D Griffiths (Eng) , S Bebb (Wal) , R Kind (Ned) , M Higley (Eng) , M Haastrup (Den) , F Colombo (Ita) , P Gustafsson (Swe) , F De Vries (Ned) ,
75 J Parron (Esp) , B Wiesberger (Aut) , J Colomo (Esp) , G Murray (Sco) , L Richard (Bel) , G Gresse (Bel) , N Smith (USA) , Stephen Grant (Irl) , Alan Murray (Irl) , S Delagrange (Fra) , B Etchart (Esp) , D Küpper (Ger) , L James (Eng) , E Molinari (Ita) , J Billot (Fra) , J Relecom (am) (Bel) , X Feyaerts (am) (Bel) , T Pieters (am) (Bel) ,
76 Y Benchetrit (Fra) , R Hie (Ina) , K Sullivan (Wal) , M Willems (Bel) , T Cruz (Por) , A Haindl (RSA) , J Granberg (Fin) , D Van Doren (am) (Bel) ,
77 C Suneson (Esp) , K Jorgensen (Den) , M Reale (Ita) , B Hebert (Fra) , L Bond (Wal) , N Maestroni (Ita) , J Bjerhag (Swe) , G Hutcheon (Sco) , J Theunis (Bel) , N Vanhootegem (Bel) , M Griffiths (Wal) , T De Kesel (Bel) A Snobeck (Fra)
78 T Carolan (Aus) , I Garcia (Esp) , A Bossert (Sui) , L Brovold (Nor) , A Mörk (Fra) , C Mivis (am) (Bel) ,
79 D Marmion (Eng) , J Forestier (Fra) , P Relecom (Bel) ,
80 S Reale (Ita) , A Willey (Eng) ,
81 C Lauwers (am) (Bel) ,
83 M Pilkington (Wal)