Waterville’s Mark Murphy got off to a flyer at the final stage of the Alps Tour Q-School in Spain.
The 34-year old Big Break Ireland winner fired an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys in an opening,, five under 67 on the Asia Course at La Cala to sit alone in second place, just a stroke behind Italy’s Giacomo Tonelli who had a six under 66 on the America Course.
Playing the Alps Tour next year is Plan C for the Kerryman, who injured his wrist and failed to get through Stage Two of the European Tour Qualifying School.
“I was very disappointed because I was really confident I could get through,” he told AlpsTourGolf.com. “Here, I don’t have any expectations and I will see what comes every day.”
It was a mixed day for the other three Irishmen who made it through pre-qualifying to join Murphy in the 144-strong field near Marbella.
Former footballer Stephen Grant, who has been suffering with back pain for the latter half of the year, was two under playing his final hole on the America Course but thinned a chip into a water hazard at the ninth and signed for a level par 72.
“I am in so much pain it’s a joke,” tweeted Grant, who is tied for 40th.
Ulsterman David Leatham finished with a double bogey seven for a four over 76 on the America while Mike Kelly had an 83 on the Asia.