Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee fired four birdies in a red-hot, eight-hole stretch and six in all as he opened with a five under 67 in the D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge.
On what was a good day for the Irish, the 25-year old from Derry ended his day tied for third place, just two strokes behind Kiiwi pacesetter Ryan Fox, who leads by one from Romain Langasque after a 65.
The New Zealander took full advantage of perfect conditions around the stunning Jack Nicklaus-designed Legend Course, birdieing the 18th to better the earlier 66 of former Amateur champion Langasque.
McGee, who is 50th in the Race to Oman, shares third with Norway’s Espen Kofstad, Spain’s Pedro Oriol and Frenchman Matthieu Pavon – Langasque’s roommate for the week.
Norway’s Kofstad made the first eagle four of the week at the 783-yard par six 15th hole as he bids for a top-two finish that will earn him a place in the Olympics this summer ahead of Monday’s qualification deadline.
As for the other Irish, West Waterford’s Gary Hurley started birdie-eagle, eventually carding a three under 69 to share 16th.
Cormac Sharvin shot 70 to tie for 34th with Kevin Phelan and Gavin Moynihan, who has recently been battling a wrist injury.
Chris Selfridge turned in three under following four birdies in five holes from his fourth hole.
He was still three under with two to play but ran up a triple bogey six at the 206-yard eighth, his 17th, to post a 72 for a share of 72nd.
Gareth Shaw made just two birdies and three bogeys added up to a 73 for a share of 89th, two shots outside the projected cut mark.
D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge, Penati Golf Resort, Senica, Slovakia (Par 72)
65 R Fox (Nzl),
66 R Langasque (Fra),
67 E Kofstad (Nor), P Oriol (Esp), Ruaidhri McGee (Irl), M Pavon (Fra),
68 S Henry (Sco), M Delpodio (Ita), D Jennevret (Swe), M Orrin (Eng), S Jeppesen (Swe), C Blomstrand (Swe), F Bergamaschi (Ita), E Blom (Swe), D Perrier (Fra),
69 J Van Der Vaart (Ned), M Rominger (Sui), D Papadatos (Aus), S Forsstrom (Swe), N Ravano (Ita), F Calmels (Fra), D Law (Sco), D Van Driel (Ned), A Velasco (Esp), O Farr (Wal), J White (Eng), Gary Hurley (Irl), F Fritsch (Ger), J Dantorp (Swe), S Tiley (Eng), T Detry (Bel), A Knappe (Ger), A Maestroni (Ita),
70 M Wiegele (Aut), S Hutsby (Eng), B Parker (Eng), D Burmester (RSA), J Robinson (Eng), A Rai (Eng), Cormac Sharvin (Nir), L Gagli (Ita), F Laporta (Ita), A Chesters (Eng), K Eriksson (Swe), D Gaunt (Aus), R Kind (Ned), J Smith (Eng), Kevin Phelan (Irl), M Søgaard (Den), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), D Frittelli (RSA), G Piris Mateu (Esp), A Björk (Swe), S Fallon (Eng), T Murray (Eng), S Brown (Eng),
71 E Goya (Arg), J Gonnet (Fra), J Lando Casanova (Fra), A Tadini (Ita), J Heath (Eng), C Del Moral (Esp), E Cuartero Blanco (Esp), P Mejow (Ger), T Pulkkanen (Fin), M Crespi (Ita), C Ford (Eng), M Wallace (Eng), D Wright (Eng), C Koerbler (Aut), K Johannessen (Nor),
72 R Saxton (Ned), R Santos (Por), O Stark (Swe), J Sarasti (Esp), D Stewart (Sco), R Kellett (Sco), T Bakker (Fin), J Sjöholm (Swe), T Gornik (Slo), Chris Selfridge (Nir), J Loughrey (Eng), J Girrbach (Sui), M Nixon (Eng), R Coles (Eng), M Kinhult (Swe), M Keskari (Ger), J Thomson (am) (Eng),
73 C Koepka (USA), P Figueiredo (Por), B Rusch (Sui), P Maddy (Eng), S Soderberg (Swe), Gareth Shaw (Nir), M Palmer (RSA), K Samooja (Fin), R Roussel (Fra), G Porteous (Eng), N Lemke (Swe), A Hartø (Den) , F Mruzek (Cze) , J Hahn (USA) , J Barnes (Eng) , F Becker (Ger),
74 B Paolini (USA), J Lara (Esp), T Tree (Eng), M Decottignies-Lafon (Fra), A Perrino (Ita), C Gloet (Den), S Piaget (Mon), L Nemecz (Aut), P Relecom (Bel), P Nic (Cze), B Eccles (Aus),
75 L Tintera (Cze), M Trappel (Aut), V Riu (Fra), A Korinek (Cze), O Lieser (Cze), P Valasek (Svk), B Stow (Eng), M Simonsen (Den), P Gal (Cze) , M Schneider (Ger) , J Mullen (Eng) , T Návrata (am), (Cze), V Kostelka (am) (Cze),
76 J Cafourek (Cze), B Ritthammer (Ger), D Huizing (Ned), J Friesz (Svk), V Seeneevassen (Mus), C Hinton (Eng), A Puchmelter (am) (Svk), M Brezovsky (am) (Svk),
77 P Widegren (Swe), P Shields (Sco), D Gavins (Eng), C Sutherland (Sco),
78 P Dedek (Cze), J Burnier (Sui), D Suchan (Cze),
79 C Russo (Fra), D Ulrich (Sui),
80 B Robinson (Eng), A Bernadet (Fra), P Martin Benavides (Esp), D Siwy (am) (Cze),
81 J Allan (Eng),
83 L Motta (Ita),
84 R Molnar (Aut),
85 R Gruber (Aut),
86 S Cairns (Ger),
RTD G Woolgar (Eng), S Einhaus (Ger).