Walker Cup player Alan Dunbar struggled to a 77 as Greenore’s Ian Brennan opened with a three under par 69 to lead the Grant Thornton sponsored Mullingar Scratch Trophy.
Brennan heads the field by a stroke from favourite and Walker Cup player Paul Cutler, Newbridge’s Ger Lawlor and local hero Dessie Morgan.
Birr’s Joe Lyons and Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan are two shots of the pace in what is widely regarded as Ireland’s most prestigious 72-hole scratch cup.
Ardee’s Ciaran Molloy, the recent winner of the Norther of Ireland Strokeplay title, had to settle for two over par 74.
Athlone’s Kelan McDonagh, who recent competed at the World University Championship in China, could only manage a 79.
69 I Brennan (Greenore)
70 G Lawlor (Newbridge), P Cutler (Portstewart), D Morgan (Mullingar)
71 J Lyons (Birr), G Lenehan (Portmarnock)
72 G McGrane (The Royal Dublin), R Bridges (Stackstown), R McNamara (Headford), J Galbraith (Whitehead)
73 N Grant (Knock), M Shanahan (West Waterford), B Walton (The Island), C Glynn (Carton House), C O’Malley (Westport)
74 D Reidy (Co. Sligo), M McAlpin (Royal Portrush), A Grant (Killinbeg), G Carew (Edenderry), R Walsh (Kilkenny), R O’Donovan (Lucan), E Smith (Ardee), C Molloy (Ardee), K Rafferty (Greenore)
75 T O’Connor (Athlone), C McKenna (Mallow), R Cannon (L’town & B’town), R Whitson (Mourne), J Leacy (Dungarvan), S Ryan (The Royal Dublin), J McGinn (L’town & B’town), D Murphy (Portarlington), J Monaghan (The Island), S Healy (Claremorris)
76 W Kelly (Naas), J O’Rourke (Mullingar), S O’Connor (Skerries)
77 C O’Rourke (Naas), A Lowry (Esker Hills), A Dunbar (Rathmore), S Walsh (Baltinglass), S Moran (Co. Meath), S McCabe (Killeen), P Connolly (Clontarf), E Arthurs (Forrest Little), C Drumm (Rosslare), C Cunningham (Carton House), P O’Kane (Moyola Park)
78 J Greene (Carlow), D Higgins (Co. Meath), L Grehan (Mullingar), S McGlynn (South County), S Ward (Co. Louth), K Stack (Tralee), D Holland (Castle), D Lally (Mullingar), C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown), L McMillan (Blessington Lakes), A Doran (Ardee), R Symington (Lisburn), M Kelly (Mullingar)
79 C Boggan (Co. Meath), K McDonagh (Athlone), L Hutchinson (The Royal Dublin), B McCormack (Castlebarna), C Tormey (Mullingar), S Grehan (Tullamore), R McKinley (Mullingar), J McGuinness (Tullamore), J Hickey (Cork)
80 S Brady (Co. Sligo)
81 D Foy (L’town & B’town), D Couglan (The Royal Dublin), Q Carew (Edenderry)
82 P O’Leary (Lucan), P Burke (Mullingar), G Shaw (Mullingar), D Ruddy (Co Tipperary), C Moulds (Lisburn)
83 S Quinlan (Killeen), M Judge (Stackstown)
84 J Pierse (Grange), N O’Hare (Castleknock)
85 K Egan (Curragh)
87 D King (Tramore)
89 P Coughlan (Moate)
NR P McCrudden (Royal Portrush)