Cormac Sharvin was the biggest Irish mover but it’s fellow Walker Cup hopefuls Jack Hume and Gary Hurley who lead the Irish challenge for the International European Amateur Championship in steamy Slovakia.
Sharvin, considered a likely Walker Cup cap, shot a 69 in sweltering 30C temperatures to move up 31 spots to 85th with the top 60 and ties to make the cut on Friday.
But on a day when seven of the eight Irishmen broke par on the Legends Course at Penati Golf Resort with Gavin Moynihan shooting 65 to move within four of the lead in tied 20th, it’s Hume, Hurley and Faithlegg’s Robin Dawson who are nearest the lead.
Hurley matched Moynihan’s 65 to get to 11 unbder par and share sixth spot, two strokes behind leader Jamie Bower of England, who added a 65 to his open66.
The Meltham golfer is just one stroke clear of four players, including Naas talent Hume who had six birdies and just one bogey in a 67 that left him sharing second with Gudmundur Kristjansson of Iceland, Italy’s Stefano Mazzoli and Belgium’s plus six handicapper Thomas Detry.
Hurley was especially impressive, starting eagle-birdie on the back nine and picking up more shots to turn in 31 before birdies and the first and second, followed by seven pars to finish gave him a 65 that leaves him just two off the lead on 11 under.
Dawson is tied 12th, three behind on 10 under, as he made four birdies in a 69.
As for Moynihan, he was five under after 11 before closing with two birdies for a 65 that leaves him in a good position, four behind on nine under.
Paul Dunne continued his steady move through the field with a six-birdie 67 that helped him climb to 24th on eight under.
Dermot McElroy had a better day on the greens as he made seven birdies in a 69 to move within a shot of the cut mark for the top 60 and ties on three under
Having been four over after seven holes on Wednesday, Sharvin’s 69 got him to within three of the mark on one under while Castle’s Alex Gleeson is one under after a 72 than began with him racking up three double-bogeys in his first four holes
Dunne, Hurley and Sharvin are heading for the US Amateur at Olympia Fields in just over a week.
The field was finalised on Thursday with fellow Walker Cup squad members Grant Forrest, Sam Horsfield and Nick Marsh also making the trip.
Meanwhile, in the weather-delayed Senior Amateur Open at Royal County Down, Portmarnock’s Adrian Morrow is alone in third, fives stroke behind American leader Patrick Tallant on six over after a pair of 74s. Scores
Maurice Kelly (T12), Arthur Pierse (T14), John Mitchell (T18), Tom Cleary (T24), John Hughes (T40), Garth McGimpsey (T46), Nigel Duke (T46) and Pat Lyons (T60) are in position to make the cut when the second round is completed early on Friday.
International European Amateur Championship, Penati Golf Resort (Legend Course Par 72) Slovakia
1 BOWER, Jamie Meltham 66 65 131
T2 KRISTJANSSON, Gudmundur Agust Golf Club 67 65 132
T2 HUME, Jack Naas Golf Club 65 67 132
T2 MAZZOLI, Stefano Monticello 65 67 132
T2 DETRY, Thomas Royal Golf Club Of Belgium 65 67 132
T6 THOMSON, Jonathan Lindrick 69 64 133
T6 HURLEY, Gary West Waterford/NUIM 68 65 133
T6 MICHELINI, Riccardo Modena G&CC 66 67 133
T6 ARNAUS, Adria Can Cuyas Golf 65 68 133
T6 NOVAK, Vitek Golf Club Karlovy Vary 64 69 133
T6 KINHULT, Marcus Skaftö Gk 64 69 133
T12 DAWSON, Robin Faithlegg 65 69 134
T20 MOYNIHAN, Gavin The Island 70 65 135
T24 DUNNE, Paul Greystones 69 67 136
T61 MCELROY, Dermot Ballymena 72 69 141
T85 SHARVIN, Cormac Ardglass Golf Club 74 69 143
T85 GLEESON, Alex Castle 71 72 143