Irish make a slow start in Europro Tour finale in Egypt
Elliot Saltman. Picture courtesy

Elliot Saltman. Picture courtesy

Ireland's hopefuls have work to do to win a Challenge Tour card after opening with over par rounds in the PGA Europro Tour's season-ending Visit Egypt Tour Championship.

The Top-five in the money list — The Race to El Gouna — after this week's £60,000 tournament will earn cards on the European Tour's second tier circuit for 2015.

With £15,000 for the winner, a big week could catapult a host of players into the Top-5 but one over 73s for Jonny Caldwell, Mick McGeady and Tim Rice and a 75 by Richard Kilpatrick leaves them back in the pack. Scores

Scotland's Elliot Saltman shot a five under par 67 to lead the season finale at El Gouna Golf Club in Egypt by a stroke from a chasing pack of six.

Clandeboye's Caldwell is 14th in the money list, just over £7,000 outside the Top-5 while Banbridge man Kilpatrick 17th and McGeady 24th are also within striking distance.

Rice is too far back in 56th but his 73 left him tied for 25th with McGeady and Caldwell in the 54-hole event.