Colm Moriarty has been making numerous journeys to the west coast of Scotland in recent months, spending time with legendary swing coach Bob Torrance in his hometown of Largs. It is now looking like those trips are beginning to pay off after the Athlone man fired a two-under par round of 70 on day one of the Challenge Tour’s Turkish Airlines Challenge.
Looking to put a poor 2009 behind him, Moriarty had to recover from a double-bogey seven at the 11th (his second) and did so brilliantly with three straight birdies from the 12th. A further birdie at the 17th left him well placed as he stepped onto the first tee but he could only manage to come back in level par 36, leaving him on two-under par.
That round leaves him four shots adrift after an opening day that was shortened because of a threat of lightning late in the day.
The British trio of Paul Dwyer, Andy Mellor and Raymond Russell hold a single-shot advantage at six-under par with only a handful of players left to complete their first rounds.
It was a day of measured success for the two other Irishmen in the field on a stunning day at the Carya Golf Club in Antalya.
Clandeboye’s Johnathan Caldwell’s card included five birdies but the four bogeys he racked up meant that he had to be satisfied with a one-under par 71 as he looks to rebuild his career on the Challenge Tour.
Niall Kearney is well placed to make the weekend after grinding out 14 pars en-route to a level par 72, back-to-back birdies at the 9th and 10th the only real highlights of his round. Gareth Shaw was the only Irish hope not to break par after he signed for a one-over 73.
After just one top ten finish last season Moriarty revealed that a fear of complacency in his game had prompted the trips to see Torrance, a man who helped Padraig Harrington to win three major titles.
He said: “I just needed a bit of a spark to get my game going. We haven’t made any dramatic changes to my game – just worked a bit on my backswing, and it seems to be falling into place.
“I did some good winter work out in Portugal and put a few things into practice, so I’m hopeful of having a decent season.
“Obviously I was a bit disappointed with how I played in Madeira, but that was mainly due to my putting – I couldn’t buy a putt all week.
“I’ve been hitting it well in practice, so if I can sort my putting out hopefully I’ll have a good week. The course here’s in really good shape and the weather’s great.”