Headfort’s Rory McNamara struggled to a 75 but Dubliner David Carey is in good shape after opening with a two under 70 at the preliminary Section A stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand.
Former North and West of Ireland champion McNamara is still in with a chace at Windsor Park Golf Club in Bangkok, where he is tied for 32nd on three over and just four shots outside the top 12 and ties who will progress to the Qualifying School Final Stage at Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club in Bangkok.
McNamara, who was 10th on the Germany based EPD Tour’s Order of Merit in 2016, started bogey-birdie, then dropped three shots in a row from the sixth before getting back to two over with a birdie at the ninth.
He failed to gain any ground on the back nine, however, and dropped another shot at the 16th to finish the day eight shots behind Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, who fired seven birdies a five-under par 67 to lead by one shot from Brian Jung of Canada and Dino A. Giacomazzi of the United States.
Former Carton House man Carey, 20, had a far better day at nearby Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club, where Niall Kearney and Tim Rice will try to make it to the final stage in the Section B qualifier from January 4-7.
With pal Eamonn O'Driscoll on his bag. he was level par through the turn after making two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine at Suvarnabhumi, he birdied his 10th, 12th and 13th holes before a bogey at his 15th took a little gloss off his morning.
At two under par, he’s tied for 16th on two under par, five shots behind Australia’s Jack Wilson, whose seven under 65 gave him a one shot lead over England’s Max Williams at a venue where around 25 players will progress.