Reeve Whitson made a good start in the Lake Macquarie Amateur in Australia. Picture by Pat Cashman (courtesy Golfing Union of Ireland/ O’Donovan (70) and Reeve Whitson (71) made steady starts at the Lake Macquarie Amateur Open Championship in Belmont.

However, the other three Irish players participating in the event have a lot to do if they are to make the cut for the final two rounds.

Dermot McElroy and Niall Gorey carded a pair of three-over 75s, while Gary Hurley - who was beaten by a final hole chip-in last week at the Australian Amateur by the eventual winner Marcel Schneider - struggled in the most difficult conditions to shoot a 76.

Germany’s Schneider continued his rich vein of form with an opening 66, and is one behind the first round leader, Australian Daniel Nisbet.

For more information on the Lake Macquarie Amateur Championship, click here.

The New South Wales Amateur begins with a 72-hole stroke play tournament at Mona Vale Golf Club and Long Reef Golf Club in Sydney from 1st-3rd February, with the top-32 finishers qualifying for the Amateur Championship itself, decided over three days of match play at nearby Elanora Golf Club on 6th-8th February.

For more information on the New South Wales Amateur Championship, click here.