Eddie McCormack. Picture courtesy GUI/Pat Cashman.Eddie McCormack is just a shot off the lead after the opening round of the Portuguese International Amateur Championship at Montado.

The Galway representative is tied for fifth place after firing seven birdies in a three under 69 to lead the Irish challenge at the Setubal resort south of Lisbon.

England’s Joe Vickery, Germany’s Moritz Lampert, England’s Curtis Griffiths and Daan Huizing of the Netherlands shot four under 68s to lead from a four-man group featuring Cavan native McCormack.

Forrest Little’s Eoin Arthurs had two birdies and an eagle two at the 388 metre fifth but had to settle for 17th place after a one under 71 following a double bogey six at the seventh and bogeys at the 15th and 18th.

It was a big struggle for the rest of the Irish in action with Walker Cup player Alan Dunbar of Rathmore carding two birdies and six bogeys in a four over 76 that left him tied for 61st.

Like Dunbar, Harry Diamond (77), Nicky Grant (78), Rory McNamara (78) and Matthew Wylie (79 also have work to do to make the 54 hole cut for the top 40 and ties.