Mark O’Sullivan during last year’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Photo Jenny Matthews/www.golffile.ieFormer Irish Close champion Mark O’Sullivan and Massereene’s Noel Murray got the 2013 PGA Irish Region season off to a winning start at a wintry Killeen Castle.

The young guns shared top spot in the Etihad Airways Sprint Series, carding three under 69s to show the old hands how it should be done.

Now attached to Piltown Driving Range outside Drogheda, Galway native O’Sullivan was first to take the lead as he laid the foundations of his round with a rare eagle two at the third hole and then followed up with a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth going 2-4-2 to be out in five-under-31.

The unlucky 13th hole cost him a bogey five and he pencilled in another five at the par four 17th for a back nine of 38.

Murray, a Massereene assistant, did the business the other way round and he must regret finishing with bogey five when outright victory was within his grasp.

With a bogey five at the fifth hole and back-to-back birdies at the short sixth and long seventh he turned in one-under but opened up with birdies at the 11th, 12th and 15th,  3-4-4, before the dropped shot at the last.

Mark O’Mahoney had to be content with a share of 11th place but had his own special moment. He carded a hole-in-one at the 144-yards sixth hole as his pitching wedge tee-shot dropped right into the cup.

Etihad Airways PGA Sprint at Killeen Castle, Par 72

(Full scoreboard)

69 - M O’Sullivan (Pilltown DR), N Murray (Massereene).

70 - M McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown), D Gleeson (Old Conna), J Kelly (St Margaret’s).

71 - N Kearney (Royal Dublin).

72 - C Molloy (Blackwood), M Allan (Pure Golf Leopardstown), M Staunton (Ballinasloe), R Jackson (Beaverstown).

73 - E Brady (Clontarf), J Quinlivan (Mullingar), B McElhinney (Foyle Golf Centre), G Robinson (St Helen’s Bay), M O’Mahoney (Titliest Fitting Centre).