An aerial view of Grado Golf between Venice and Trieste. Finding water near Venice is not unusual but Stephen Grant was not too upset as he overcome two shots into hazards to open with a three under 69 in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Open on the Alps Tour.

The Birr man was two under with five to play but recovered from a bogey at the 14th with birdies at the 15th and par-three 18th to end the day just four shots behind Frenchman Raphael Marguery in joint eighth at Golf Club Grado, 90 minutes east of Venice and just 45 minutes west of Trieste.


Ranked 10th in the Order of Meri, Grant will be looking to move closer to the top of the list with money leader Jesus Leggarea and third ranked fellow Spaniard Borja Etchart away competing on the Challenge Tour in Mallorca this week.

Brendan McCarroll, who is fourth in the Order of Merit following his successful defence of the Gosser Open in Austria recently, will also be looking to make a move.

However the Ballyliffin man mixed five birdies with double bogeys at the 11th and 18th in a disappointing one under 71 that leaves him joitn 30th.

Richard Kilpatrick is a shot further back in tied 41st after a level par 72 featuring an eagle, four bogeys and just two birdies,

Leader Marguery defied back pain and the menacing Italian skies to post a seven-under-par first-round 65 for a two shot lead over compatriot Sebastien Gros.

Twice Alps Tour winner this season Andrew Cooley, second in the order of merit, shot a three-under 69 in the presence of former Ryder Cup player and European Tour winner Costantino Rocca, who carded a six-over 78.