There's still a long way to go but Jack Hume has a mountain to climb and just two of Ireland’s 12 hopefuls are in position to progress from the Second Stage after the opening round of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain.
While seven of the 12 broke par and there are still three rounds to go at four venues with around 18 and ties to go through to next week’s Final Stage only Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan and Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin were smiling brightly after the opening day.
Phelan is tied for 14th, three off the lead, after he shot a three under 68 at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club in Alicante, where West Waterford's Gary Hurley shot a fine 69 and is tied 24th.
However, Clandeboye's Jonny Caldwell (71) is back in tied 46th and Stephen Grant (73) is tied 59th, leaving them with a lot of work to do.
A Waterford native, Phelan had four birdies and just one bogey in his 68 as Hurley mixed four birdies and two bogeys in his 69.
Caldwell was left to count the cost of a double bogey six at the 16th as he shot level par 71 while former footballer Grant had 16 pars and two bogey fours on a frustrating day.
There was better news for former Irish Close and Brabazon Trophy winner Sharvin as he blasted seven birdies in a four under 68 to share 12th at El Saler in Valencia.
He’s just four off the lead while Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney had five birdies in a two under 70 left him tied 23rd as Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge made just one birdie and is tied 69th after a 75.
Limerick's Tim Rice (69) and Rosapenna's Ruaidhri McGee (70) broke par at Lumine Golf and Beach Club in Tarragona but they are tied 30th and 38th at a venue where David Law and Charlie Bull shot 65s to lead and 45 players in the 80-strong field broke par.
Castlebar’s Declan Loftus is tied 64th there after a 73 but it’s going to be just as tough now for Walker Cup winner and Eisenhower Trophy bronze medalist Hume after his three over 75 at Panoramica, where Brian Casey is 44th after a one under 71.
Hume was two under par after four holes, turning in one under 35 after a bogey at the eighth. But he lurched home in 40 with a birdie at the 10th erased by three bogeys and a double bogey in six-hole stretch from the 11th to the 16th.
European Tour Q-School Second Qualifying Stage
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Alicante, Spain
1 Three players on -6
- T14 PHELAN, Kevin -3 68
- T24 HURLEY, Gary* -2 69
- T46 CALDWELL, Jonathan Par 71
- T59 GRANT, Stephen +2 73
Campo de Golf El Saler, Valencia, Spain
1 MARTY, Fabien (Fra) (-8) 64
- T12 SHARVIN, Cormac - 4 68
- T23 KEARNEY, Niall -2 70
- T69 SELFRIDGE, Chris* +3 75
Lumine Golf & Beach Club, Tarragona, Spain
1 LAW, David and BULL, Charlie -6 65
- T30 RICE, Tim -2 69
- T38 MCGEE, Ruaidhri* -1 70
- T64 LOFTUS, Declan* +2 73
Panoramica Golf & Sport Resort, Castellón, Spain
1 RIU, Victor -9 63
- T44 CASEY, Brian* -1 71
- T74 HUME, Jack +3 75