A 'stress-free' three under par round of 66 earned Robert Giles the lead on the opening day of the 104th Irish PGA Championship in association with the Down Syndrome Centre at Adare Manor GC.
The 44-year-old Greenore professional coped superbly with the blustery conditions at the Co Limerick venue and leads Brendan McGovern, Graeme Dunlea, Peter Jones and pre-tournament pro-am winner, Michael McDermott, by a shot heading into day two at the €29,450 event.
“There was no pressure out there today and it could even have been a bit better,” said Giles who is fit and healthy again after knee and ankle injuries in 2012/2013 curtailed his appearances on the PGA in Ireland circuit.
“I only used the driver twice in the round today. I thought before I came down that maybe this course wouldn't suit me, but I don't hit many drivers in a round normally so it sets up quite well for me. You have to keep it in play and hopefully hole a few putts.”
Just seven players managed to better par at a venue which, while short by modern standards, puts a premium on course management and accuracy.
Graeme Dunlea, from the nearby Adare Manor Resort, stuck to his game plan of being 'aggressive without being reckless' to open with a solid round of 67 in his quest for the coveted title and the €3,500 top prize..
“I started nicely and holed a couple of good par putts at 12 and 14 to keep the round going,” said the 29-year-old, who has won three times on the PGA in Ireland circuit this season.
“I had good chances for birdies on my closing four holes and on another day it could have been a 64, but, the other side of this is that it could also have been a 70.”
Defending champion, Michael McGeady, stayed in touch with an opening round of one over par 70, but Colm Moriarty, recent winner of the Ulster PGA Championship, signed for a six over 75 that leaves him tied for 62 and battling to make the cut which will fall at top 50 and ties (tomorrow) Friday.
Hazel Kavanagh recovered from a four over par opening nine to post a two over 71 while European Tour player and former winner David Higgins has work to do after a three over 72.
Irish PGA Championship, in association with Down Syndrome Centre, Adare Manor GC (Par 69) Click here for detailed scores
66 Robert Giles (Greenore)
67 Brendan McGovern (Headfort), Graeme Dunlea (Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort), Peter Jones (Coollattin), Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown),
68 Michael Quinlivan (Mike Quinlivan Golf), Cian McNamara (Monkstown),
69 John Murray (Malahide), Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny), John Kelly (St Margaret's Golf & Country), Damian Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast),
70 Seamus Clinton (Letterkenny), Enda Maguire (Dundalk), Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Michael McGeady (Unatt), Donal Gleeson (Old Conna), David Mortimer (Galway),
71 Patrick Small (Galway), Shane O'Sullivan (Shannon), Chris Moriarty (Open Fairways Ltd), Christian Porter (Halpenny), Jamie O'Sullivan (Charleville), Hazel Kavanagh (Carr Golf Services), Mark Staunton (Delgany), Gerry Burke (Royal Curragh), John McHenry (McHenry Golf Ltd), Ciaran Molloy (Blackwood Golf Centre), David Ruddy (Unatt)
72 Martin McTernan (Co. Sligo), Leonard Owens (Royal Dublin), Liam Bowler (Wexford), Mark O'Boyle (Heath), James Quinlivan (Mullingar), Barrie Trainor (Cairndhu), Richard Creamer (Golfquip), David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), Noel Murray (Massereene),
73 Ian Colleran (Killarney Golf & Fishing Club), Duncan Purcell (Ballybunion), Warren Ryan (Unatt), Derry Kiely (Faithlegg), Wayne O'Callaghan (Fernhill Golf & Country Club), Kenny Fahey (GUI National Academy), Paul Masterson (Coollattin), Lee Harrington (Limerick), Donal McSweeney (Lahinch), David Hughes (Massereene), Raymond Burns (Lisheen Springs), John Dignam (Slade Valley), Daniel Sugrue (Killarney Golf & Fishing Club), Neil O'Briain (Old Conna),
74 Patrick Sheehy (Newcastle West), Stephen McCarthy (Black Bush), Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel), Padraig Dooley (Drive Golf Performance Ltd), Sean Cotter (Mount Juliet), Ted Higgins (Mount Wolseley Golf & County Club), Kevin Foy (Stepaside G Centre), Eddie Doyle (Natural Golf School), Gary Wardlow (American Golf), Glen Robinson (St Helen's Bay Golf Resort),
75 Daniel Beattie (Deer Park Hotel, Golf & Spa), Frank Holly (Charleville), Fintan Lacey (Newlands), Gary Howie (Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort), Graham Callaghan (Hollywood Lakes), Roderick Park (Park Consulting Services), Mark O'Sullivan (Piltown Driving Range), Ian Brennan (Greenore), Colm Moriarty (Glasson), Mark O'Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre), David Ryan (Cahir Park), David Whyte (Frankfield Golf & Driving Rge),
76 David Hayes (Dungarvan), Mark Whelan (Castlewarden Golf & Country Club), Marian Riordan (Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort), Michael Collins (Mallow Golf Range),
77 William Noble (County Cavan), Mark Heinemann (Skellig Bay), Steve Moore (Spawell Driving Range), Scott Wilson (Co. Louth), Mark Peat (Bray, Dara Lernihan (Elm Park),
78 David Cully (Dunmurry Springs), Thomas Niland (Tuam), Colin Clancy (Castle), David Foley (Dromoland Castle GC), Philip Duff (Black Bush), Brendan Walton (Island), Michael O'Shea (Rathsallagh)
79 Shane McCabe (Killeen), Gerard Jones (Thurles), Ian St. John (Rush), Conor Russell (Sutton), Philip Ring (Elmgreen Golf Centre), Zak Rouiller (Beech Park), Shane Deegan (Spawell Driving Range)
80 Corey Doherty (Athlone)
81 Shaun Donnelly Castle Hume, Brendan McDaid (Limerick City Driving Range), Peter Hickey (Cork)
83 Ciaran Hegarty (Kilcock)
WD David Allen Roe Park Hotel & Golf Resort, Ciaran Carroll Bray, Scott Kirkpatrick Ardee, Seamus McMonagle Dunfanaghy, Michael Murphy Wicklow, Dean Redmond Heritage Golf & C Club, David Reilly Westmanstown, Keith Shannon Greenore