Chris Selfridge got off to the perfect start in his bid to extend his rookie season on the Challenge Tour and keep his hopes of European Tour promotion alive.
The 23-year old Moyola Park man opened with a three under par 69 in the $500,000 Foshan Open in China, the final regular event before the top 45 in the money list contest the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Oman next month.
Selfridge is 56th in the Road to Oman standings and needs a Top-12 finish at worst to make the 45-man field for Oman.
The former Irish Close, East of Ireland and two time North of Ireland champion made four birdies and dropped just one shot on the opening day at Shishan Town, to finish the day on a nine-way tie for eighth place.
Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee, who is 20th in the Road to Oman standings and €12,417 outside the top 15 who earn European Tour cards after the Grand Final, is tied for 25th on one under after a three birdie 71.
Spain’s Borja Virto Astudillo, who sits right on the bubble at 15th place in the Road to Oman Rankings, shrugged off any suggestions of pressure in the opening day as he took the first round lead in the penultimate event of the season thanks to an eight under 64.
The 24-year old got off to the perfect start as he carded a trio of successive birdies before making two more gains on the fifth and sixth to pick up five shots in the opening six holes.
That set the tone for a flawless round which also included a birdie at the par five closing hole and he took a one stroke advantage into the second round, with South African prospect Haydn Porteous closest behind on seven under.
Local favourite Li-hao Chen, from nearby Zhuhai in the same province as this week’s host venue in Foshan City, carded six birdies in a flawless opening round 66 to move into outright third place on six under.
64 B Virto Astudillo (Esp),
65 H Porteous (RSA),
66 C Zi-Hao (Chn),
67 B Åkesson (Swe), E Dubois (Fra), M Orrin (Eng),
68 J Dantorp (Swe),
69 L Jun-Seok (Aus), C Selfridge (Nir), Z Xin-Jun (Chn), C Hanson (Eng), A Björk (Swe), S Arnold (Aus), W Tu-Xuan (Chn), E Cuartero Blanco (Esp), M Delpodio (Ita),
70 R Gouveia (Por), S Soderberg (Swe), G Charoenkul (Tha), W Harrold (Eng), M Wiegele (Aut), J Hansen (Den), Z Guo-Wu (Chn), C Ding-Gen (Chn),
71 J Robinson (Eng), T Murray (Eng), S Walker (Eng), L Gagli (Ita), R McGee (Irl), J Hahn (USA), H Shao-Cai (Chn), S Tiley (Eng), M Schneider (Ger), J Heath (Eng), R Davies (Wal), T Remkes (Ned), C Shinkwin (Eng),
72 T Linard (Fra), G Murray (Sco), S Gros (Fra), C Xiao-Ma (Chn), J Fahrbring (Swe), C Hai-Meng (Chn), R Fox (Nzl), W Wei-Huang (Chn), G Boyd (Eng), G Porteous (Eng), M Søgaard (Den), S Jeppesen (Swe), R Coles (Eng), Z Hui-Lin (Chn), N Bertasio (Ita), H Joannes (Bel), W Xu (Chn), J Winther (Den), M Yiyuan (Chn), P Widegren (Swe),
73 G Sapp (USA), J Lima (Por), D Lee (Kor), J Makitalo (Fin), J McLeary (Sco), X Zhi (Chn), Y Tian (Chn), Y Bin (Chn), Z Jin (Chn), J Sjöholm (Swe), Y Guang-Ming (Chn), P Whiteford (Sco), O Bekker (RSA), D Foos (Ger),
74 D Im (USA), S Nan-Nan (Chn), L Xiaofei (Chn), S Kim (USA), L Ding-Feng (Chn), L Chun (Chn), A McArthur (Sco), Z Wei-Yu (Chn), Y Yi-Nong (Chn),
75 S Dong (Chn), L Hao-Yuan (Chn), S Yi-Cheng (Chn), R Evans (Eng), C Sordet (Fra), J Senior (Eng), L Gui-Ming (Chn), J Doherty (Sco), D Huizing (Ned), S Yan (Chn), Z Jia (Chn), X Bowen (Chn), S Manley (Wal), S Henry (Sco), L Xue-Wen (Chn), G Tian Lang (Chn), H Yu-Ting (Chn),
76 H Mu (Chn), W Zi-Ting (Chn), R McGowan (Eng), D Ze-Cheng (Chn), S Hodgson (Eng), H Wen-Cheng (Chn), H Jian (Chn), W Chang-Wei (Chn), Q Da (Chn), B Stone (RSA), S Zihan (Chn),
77 X Cheng (Chn), H Zeming (Chn), H Ren (Chn), L En Qi (Chn),
78 W Ming-Hao (Chn), Z Xiongyi (Chn), L Fangyi (Chn), S Qiang (Chn), X Qin (Chn),
79 Y Hao (Chn), Z Zi-Hong (Chn),
80 X Guo-Zhen (Chn),
82 L Jun-Feng (Chn), D Chen Xiao (Chn), W Tianyi (Chn),
83 W Weijun (Chn),
85 H Yong-Le (Chn),
89 Q Hong-Xin (Chn).