McNamara best on a mixed day for the Irish in Sotogrande
Headfort's Rory McNamara. Picture Pat Cashman

Headfort's Rory McNamara. Picture Pat Cashman

Headfort’s Rory McNamara is just two shots off the lead after the first qualifying round for the Spanish International Amateur Open at La Reserva in Sotogrande.

The reigning West of Ireland champion carded a level par 72 to share ninth place with the top 32 after Thursday's second round going through to the matchplay stages.

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Denmark’s Mads Soegaad, Ugo Coussaud of France and Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult shot two under 70s to lead by one on a day when Jack Hume (73), Irish Close champion Cormac Sharvin (74) and Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy (75) all finished inside the top 32.

Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan and Tullamore's Stuart Grehan shot 76 to lie just a shot outside the qualifying places in joint 36th with Stackstown’s Richard Bridges tied 50th after a 77.

But it was a disappointing day for defending champion Reeve Whitson as the Mourne man posted a six over 78 to share 60th while Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan crashed to a forgettable 84.

Harry Diamond carded a nightmare 88 while Irish Amateur Open champion Robbie Cannon could managed just three holes before he was forced to retire with a back injury.

The Balbriggan man picked up the injury sprinting in the National Indoor Athletics championship recently.