Glasson’s Colm Moriarty plans to play around 10 European Tour events this season and he’ll be hoping that his fine 67 in the opening round of the Joburg Open is a sign of things to come.

The clock is ticking for the Athlone native n his bid to earn his European Tour card after seven largely frustrating years on the second tier Challenge Tour.

And the 31-year old has every reason to be happy that he made the long trip south as a reserve after opening with a four under par 67 on the tougher East Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington.

All three Irish players were playing the same track but while Gareth Maybin shot a two under 69, Darren Clarke was forced to birdie his last three holes to post a bizarre, one-under par 70.

Moriarty, in contrast, dropped just one shot (at the 12th) against five birdies as he finished the day tied for 27th while Maybin had three birdies and a bogey to share 56th place with Clarke tied for 80th.

It was a tough day at the office for Clarke, who followed a bogey at the first with birdies at the sixth, eighth and ninth before losing the plot early on his back nine.

He bogeyed the 10th and 12th a then double bogeyed the 13th to slip to two over par before birdies at the last three holes helped him salvage something from the round.

South Africa pair Martin Maritz and Tyrone Mordt grabbed a share of the first round lead thanks to sensational, nine under par 62s.

But while Mordt fired his 62 on the easier West Course, Maritz’s nine under effort on the tough East Course was the round of the European Tour season so far.