Rory McNamara heads the Irish challenge in Egypt but a three under 69 left the Headfort man six shots behind a red-hot Jordan Smith in the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge Presented by Hassan Allam Properties.
Smith fired a nine under 63 at Sokhna Golf Club in the second event of the 2016 European Challenge Tour season on a day when five of the seven Irishmen in action broke par.
As 23-year old Europro Tour graduate Smith made nine birdies and an eagle in a blistering round that was just one shot shy of the course record, EPD Tour regular McNamara made six birdies and three bogeys to share 29th on three under and boost his confidence ahead of the European Tour's Trophée Hassan II
“I could tell it was going well out there today,”Smith said. “I didn’t really hit any bad shots out there. I hit a lot of shots close, holed a lot of putts and hit it really good tee to green.
“I missed a few greens on the par threes which led to two bogeys but apart from that I am over the moon. The pins out there were tough, they were tucked away in a lot of slopes, but it was fair apart from that with the large fairways.
“I got off to a nice steady start in Kenya and I am just ready to kick on and get the year going now. I got a lot of confidence from winning last year and I will use that to try and aim for a spot in the top 15 and a first win.”
Smith finished the day two shots ahead of Frenchman Joël Stalter with Alps Tour regular David Carey firing a five-birdie 70 on his Challenge Tour debut to share 46th with Loyola Park’s Chris Selfridge.
Alan Dunbar and Gareth Shaw are tied 67th after one under 71s but it was a rollercoaster day for Brian Casey and Gavin Moynihan.
Casey was two under par after nine holes but having started on the 11th, he then double bogeyed his 10th and 11th, running up a six at the second and a seven at the third before going three over for the day following another dropped shot at the fifth.
The Headfort man showed his quality at the finish, however, clawing back shots with birdies at his 15th and 17th holes for a 73 and a share of 104th.
The Island’s Gavin Moynihan is 120th after a round featuring four bogeys and two birdies.
Former Challenge Tour Rankings winner Espen Kofstad carded a six under par 67 to tie for third place alongside Englishman Matt Wallace and South African Jacques Blaauw.
Reigning Amateur Champion Romain Langasque, fresh from his debut at Augusta National in the Masters Tournament, made a good start to life in the paid ranks by finishing the day five under par.
Red Sea Egyptian Challenge Presented by Hassan Allam Properties, Sokhna Golf Club (Par 72)
63 Jordan L SMITH ENG
65 Joël STALTERFRA
67 Espen KOFSTAD NOR, Matt WALLACE ENG, dJacques BLAAUW RSA 66 66 -6 6 Romain LANGASQUE FRA, Sebastian HEISELE GER, Jordan WRISDALE ENG, Charles-Edouard RUSSO FRA, Jérôme LANDO CASANOVA FRA, Gerard PIRIS MATEU ESP, Filippo BERGAMASCHI ITA, Jason BARNES ENG, Lorenzo GAGLI ITA, Robin GOGER AUT,
68 Adrien SADDIER FRA, Dylan FRITTELLI RSA, Andrea MAESTRONI ITA, Edouard DUBOIS FRA, Ross CAMERON SCO, Peter WHITEFORD SCO, Scott FERNANDEZ ESP, Victor RIU FRA, David LAW SCO, Tapio PULKKANEN FIN, Harry CASEY ENG, Christopher MIVIS BEL, Philipp MEJOW GER,
69 Ben STOW ENG, Stephan GROSS JR GER, Marcus ARMITAGE ENG, Joshua WHITE ENG, Teemu BAKKER FIN, Jacob GLENNEMO SWE, Scott HENRY SCO, Rory MCNAMARA IRL, Daniel WUENSCHE GER, Mikael LUNDBERG SWE, Ben PARKER ENG, Toni FERRER ESP, Garrick PORTEOUS ENG, Marc DOBIAS SUI, Steven BROWN ENG, Daan HUIZING NED, Joel SJÖHOLM SWE,
70 Toby TREE ENG, Ross KELLETT SCO, Enrico DI NITTO ITA, Chris SELFRIDGE NIR, Franck DAUX FRA, Matteo DELPODIO ITA, David CAREY IRL, Jens DANTORP SWE, Damien PERRIER FRA, Oscar STARK SWE, Matthieu PAVON FRA, Joel GIRRBACH SUI, Ales KORINEK CZE, Benjamin RUSCH SUI, Alessandro TADINI ITA, Emilio CUARTERO BLANCO ESP, Charlie FORD ENG, Manuel TRAPPEL AUT, Daniel LØKKE DEN, Sam CONNOR ENG, Brinson PAOLINI USA,
71 Oliver FARR WAL, Nicolas THOMMEN SUI, Christiaan BEZUIDENHOUT RSA, José Manuel LARA ESP, Tim GORNIK SLO, Eirik Tage JOHANSEN NOR, Christoph KOERBLER AUT, Alan DUNBAR NIR, Martin SIMONSEN DEN, Adrien BERNADET FRA, George WOOLGAR ENG, Florian PRAEGANT AUT, Cesar COSTILLA ARG, Robin ROUSSEL FRA, David ANTONELLI FRA, Clément BERARDO FRA, Gareth SHAW NIR, Sihwan KIM USA, HP BACHER AUT, Carlos DEL MORAL ESP,
72 Tom MURRAY ENG, Darryn LLOYD RSA, Jean-Baptiste GONNET FRA, Robert MOLNAR AUT, Daniel GAUNT AUS, Sebastian GARCIA RODRIGUEZ ESP, Hugues JOANNES BEL, Steven TILEY ENG, Robin KIND NED, Josh LOUGHREY ENG, Mark TULLO CHI, Antoine SCHWARTZ FRA, Martin KESKARI GER, Juan SARASTI ESP, Dave COUPLAND ENG, Guillaume WATREMEZ BEL, Mads SØGAARD DEN,
73 Jimmy MULLEN ENG, Scott FALLON ENG, Aaron RAI ENG, Damian ULRICH SUI, Gary KING ENG, Jack DOHERTY SCO, Paul MADDY ENG, Andrea ROTA ITA, Christian GLOET DEN, Brian CASEY IRL, Lukas TINTERA CZE, Stephan WOLTERS GER, Ashley CHESTERS ENG, Kevin HESBOIS BEL, Duncan STEWART SCO, Maged ABDEL TAWAB (AM) EGY,
74 Paul HOWARD ENG, Michele ORTOLANI ITA, Sean EINHAUS GER, Peter VALASEK SVK, Simon PETERS GER, William HARROLD ENG, Gavin MOYNIHAN IRL, Antonio HORTAL ESP, Darren WRIGHT ENG, Jacopo VECCHI FOSSA (AM) ITA,
75 Darius VAN DRIEL NED, Daniel BERNA MANZANARES ESP, Jurrian VAN DER VAART NED, Kristian K JOHANNESSEN NOR,
76 Martin WIEGELE AUT, John HAHN USA, Sebastian SODERBERG SWE,
77 Simon FORSSTROM SWE, Stevie CAIRNS GER,
78 Berni REITER AUT, Jan FRIESZ SVK,
79 Thordur GISSURARSON ISL, Paul SHIELDS SCO, Abdel Monem EL SHAFEI (AM) EGY,
88 David MICHEL GER.