Hurley starts pro career with rollercoaster ride at Q-School

Gary Hurley, pictured during last week's Walker Cup, made a positive start in his first professional event at the Qualifying School. Picture: © USGA/John Mummert

Two days after lifting the Walker Cup in spectacular fashion, West Waterford's Gary Hurley made his professional debut at the First Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School and broke par after a truly rollercoaster round.

With approximately 20 players to progress from each of the eight First Stage venues over the next four weeks, Hurley's one under 71 left him tied for 13th at The Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course in Scotland and just three strokes off the lead.

The 22-year old wasn't best of the Irish as 2011 Walker Cup hero and former Amateur champion Alan Dunbar posted a three under 69 to share fifth while Headfort's Rory McNamara is tied eighth after a fine 70. Scores

Hurley shares 13th with 2007 Walker Cup player Jonny Caldwell and current Irish international Colm Campbell from Warrenpoint, who has entered as an amateur and won't turn professional unless he goes all the way to the Final Stage and wins at least a Challenge Tour card.

Campbell's 71 was a tale of two halves — three bogeys in an outward 39 followers by four birdies in a homeward 32 — but Hurley was very much up and down.

Starting on the front nine alongside Lucan's Richie O'Donovan (72) and Headfort's Brian Casey (75), he sandwiched an eagle three at the 520-yard seventh between birdies at the sixth and eighth to get to four under par.

He then followed a bogey at the ninth with birdies at the 10th and 11th but he finished untidily, which was no surprise given the exertions of the Walker Cup, which Great Britain and Ireland won with a record score.

After a double bogey six at the 12th, he dropped further shots at the 15th and 16th to finish the day in the red.

Despite his finish, he's perfectly placed behind a quartet of leaders in Welshman Rhys Enoch, England's Reece Philips and Scottish pair Neil Henderson and Neil Fenwick, who shot four under 68s.

O'Donovan (72) shares 22nd spot with Banbridge's Richard Kilpatrick tied 31st after a one over 73.

The rest of the Irish brigade have work to do to get back into contention with Irish international amateur Dermot McElroy from Ballymena shooting 74 to match rookie pro and former Irish team mate Richard Bridges from Stackstown.

Casey, who has been playing well on the EuroPro Tour and recently finished 42nd on his European Tour debut in the M2M Russian Open, shot 75 with Monaghan native Simon Ward back on five over after a 77.

In the other First Stage, Section A qualifier taking place at Golf Club Fleesensee in north east Germany (Scores), Mount Juliet's Stephen Grant got the tough side of the draw and shot a four over 76 in afternoon showers and winds gusting up to 30 mph.

The former professional footballer is tied 58th, five shots outside the Top 20.