Skerries’s Maria Dunne and Holywood’s Jessica Carty fired opening three under par 72s to lead the Irish challenge at the Scottish Women’s Open Stroke Play (Helen Holm Trophy) at Royal Troon Golf Club.
Over the Portland Course, Carty started brightly with birdies on the first, sixth, 10th and 14th to return a solid opening round, her only blemish being a bogey at the short fourth hole.
Dunne suffered a different fate birdieing from the fifth through to the ninth and led the tournament on six under after a two on the 16th only to triple bogey the 17th.
The Irish pair lie joint second, just two shots off the lead held by England’s Olivia Winning with a 70.
Next best was Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) and Aedín Murphy (Carlow) on 74 followed by Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell), Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell) and Olivia Mehaffey (RCD Ladies) on level par 75s.
The field plays a further 18 holes over the Portland Links on Saturday before the top 66 and ties play the final round over Royal Troon on Sunday.