Castletroy’s Chloe Ryan produced a sensational back nine comeback to open with a level par 72 in the Portuguese International Ladies Amateur Championship at Montado Hotel & Golf Resort.
The Munster talent is the best of the Irish, tied for 23rd and just five strokes behind Italian Letizia Bagnoli, whose immaculate 67 gave her a one-shot lead over Denmark’s Line Toft Hansen and Sweden’s Frida Kinhult.
Starting on the back nine, Ryan double bogeyed the 11th and bogeyed the 15th and 16th to drift to four over par early on.
But she covered the back nine in 32 when she followed birdies at the first and second with an eagle three at the seventh.
Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) and Valerie Clancy (Killarney) were a shot further back after 73s with Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) ranked 41st after a 74.
Georgia Carr (Milltown), Maria Dunne (Skerries) and Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) are lying in 52nd, 60th and 61st place after rounds of 75, 76 and 77 respectively.
A Vagliano Trophy hopeful, Dunne also began her round on the 10th and suffered a catastrophic nine on the par-five, 17th. However, she recovered well and came home in one under to sign for a 76.