O'Briain returns to winning ways at Balmoral
Neil O'Briain. Picture: Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Neil O'Briain. Picture: Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Neil O'Briain avoided the major traffic jam at the top of the leaderboard in the €9,000 Fred Daly Memorial Pro-am Tournament,.

Eight players were sharing top of the board at one-over-par 70 for quite some time before Old Conna attaché O'Briain posted a 68 for the only red number of the event.

He did it in a rare roundabout way, into the bargain, as he produced a mixed bag of birdies, bogeys and even a double bogey on his way to the turn. He had only three pars on his first nine trip of one-under-34.

Birdie threes flew in at the second and fifth holes, he trimmed the long seventh to four blows and sliced a shot off the short eighth. He bogeyed the par four third hole and then pencilled in a double-bogey six at the sixth.

The Dubliner was much steadier on the way home with two birdies and two bogeys being the story of his back nine. The birdies landed on the 10th and 16th greens – birdies three and four – but those advantages were offset with bogey fives at 12 and 18 for a back nine of level 34.

Fred Daly Memorial Pro-am at Balmoral (Par 69)

Detailed scores

68N O'Briain (Old Conna)

70 D Mooney (Nevada Bobs), B McGovern (Headfort), W O'Callaghan (Fernhill), D Leathem (Nevada Bobs), E Brady (Clontarf), R Giles (Greenore), B McElhinney (North West), D Beattie (Deer Park Hotel)

71J Dillon (Headfort), N Murray (Massereene)

72 B McCarroll (Narin & Portnoo), S Quinlan (Unattached).

Team: 86 pts – Pro Wes Ramsey (Knockbracken GA) & Amateurs.