Flanagan feeling ace as McCarron fires career best 66
 Kyle McCarron. Picture © Frank Casey Jnr/Rosapenna

Kyle McCarron. Picture © Frank Casey Jnr/Rosapenna

Maynooth University’s Sean Flanagan had a hole in one as he played Lahinch’s first five holes in five under par before settling for an opening 68 in the Irish Intervarsity Championship.

The North of Ireland champion ended the day two strokes behind impressive team mate Kyle McCarron, who carded a career-best 66. 

Runner-up finish at the Fife Tournament in St Andrews in his last start, Flanagan started 4-5 as he parred the first and the three putted the par-five second.

But he needed just seven strokes to play the next three holes as he followed a birdie at the third with an eagle three at the Klondyke and an ace at The Dell.

“I went from having a three-putt on the second to being five under through five holes,” said Flanagan, who parred his way to the turn for an outward nine of 31 before sandwiching a birdie at the 13th between bogeys at the 11th and 15th on the back nine.

After holing from five feet at the third, he rolled in a 20-footer for eagle at the fourth and then holed in one at the famous fifth to go five under for the round.

“I had 135 to the pin,” he said of the second hole in one of his career. "I hit a 9 iron, which was probably too much club. My ball landed on the hill up the back and spun back down into the hole. We could see everything that happened. It took a second to realise it went in but we went crazy then.

His only previous ace came at the 17th in Enniscrone but it came during a Barton Shield defeat to Galway.

Maynooth players occupy the six of the top 10 spots with Jack McDonnell, Eoin O’Brien and Cathal Butler tied for third after bogey free 69s with an immaculate Kevin Le Blanc.

Mary Doyle leads the ladies by one shot after a 72 thanks to an eagle and a birdie in her last four holes. Meadhbh Doyle, Raychelle Santos and Chloe Ryan are leading the chasing pack.

The top 30 male players and ties will progress to the final round on Friday along with the top seven ladies and ties.

Leader McCarron birdied the fourth going out, then made the most of benign conditions with five birdies on the back nine — at the 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 18th.

“It was beautiful out there,” said McCarron, beaming after his 66. “We’re lucky, not too many college events get weather like this. It’s going to be whoever plays the best golf wins.”

On his last appearance at Lahinch, a double bogey at the last cost McCarron a place in the match play stages of the South of Ireland. 

Safely on the 18th in regulation, he holed from 20 feet to collect his sixth birdie of the opening round at the Intervarsity Championship.
 
“This is my first event since winning the Rosapenna Scratch Cup and it’s my lowest round ever,” said McCarron, whose previous best was minus four.

Irish Intervarsity Championship, Lahinch (Par 72)

Detailed scores - Men / Women

Men

66 Kyle McCarron (MU)

68 Sean Flanagan (MU)

69 Jack McDonnell (MU), Eoin O'Brien (MU), Marc Nolan (IADT), Adam McSweeney (CIT), Cathal Butler (MU), Kevin Le Blanc (MU), James Lindsay (UU)

70 Ted Collins (UCD), Eoghan Collins (DCU)

71 James Sugrue (CIT), James McVicker (UU), Stefan Greenberg (UU), Sean Burke (NUIG), Eugene Smith (MU), Ross Dutton (UU), Andrew Mccormack (UL), Ronan Mullarney (MU)

72 Robin Dawson (MU), Aodan Comerford (NUIG), Neil McKinstry (UU), Gareth Mann (UCD)

73 James Lawlor (MU), John Hickey (CIT), Paul Kelly (MU)

74 Ryan McCullough (UU), Niall Worth (DIT), Eanna Griffin (MU), David Foy (UL), Kieran Lynch (MU), Shane McDermott (NUIG), John Murphy (MU), Liam Grehan (MU)

75 Jonathan Quinn (DCU), Ryan O'Doherty (NUIG), Michael O'Farrell (NUIG), Michael Kennelly (NUIG), Gavin Fitzmaurice (UCD), Jordan Hood (MU)

76 Marc McKinstry (QUB), Ross Steedman (MU), William Eickholt (DCU), Craig Foley (CIT), Craig Melvin (MU)

77 Marc McCormack (MU), William Byrne (MU), Patrick Hartnett (UU), Timmy Broderick (UL), Charles McGoldrick (NUIG), John McCarthy (UCD), Alastair McQuillan (UU), Nicholas Armstrong (TCD), Thomas Dillon (QUB), Aaron Ryan (MU), Robert Browne (UCD)

78 James Andrew O'Rourke (UCD), Colin Woodroofe (MU), Eoin Goggin (CIT), Conor Roche (CIT), Jonathan Doherty (DCU)

79 Bill Murray (UCC), Luke Cummins (CIT)

80 Anton Brennan (NUIG), Philip O'Sullivan (QUB), John Boylan (UCC), Micheal Shiel (NUIG)

81 Gareth Carr (MU), Aaron Donegan (UCC), Eoin Conway (UCD)

82 Alex Murray (DIT)

83 Luke Branagan (DIT), Shane O'Neill Jnr (LIT)

84 Conor Harte (UCD), Cian Feeney (MU)

85 Jack Murphy (CIT)

86 Barry O'Sullivan-Geaney (CIT), Tristan Coakley (CIT)

89 Barry Fitzpatrick (DIT)

90 Jason Daly (LIT)

NR  Ronan O'Callaghan (MU)

Women

72 Mary Doyle (MU)

73 Meadhbh Doyle (MU), Raychelle Santos (UU), Chloe Ryan (UCD)

76 Rachel Mc Donnell (UCD)

77 Shannon Burke (MU)

78 Paula Walsh (UCC), Gemma McCarthy (MU), Clodagh Walsh (MU)

80 Judithe Allen (UU)

82 Aoife Ni Thuama (UCC)

85 Ruth Dillon (UCD)

86 Eleanor Metcalfe (MU)