Amateur Michael Dallat made an eagle and four birdies in a two-under 69 to lead the Irish challenge at the Final Stage of the Alps Tour Qualifying School in Spain.
The Galgorm Castle player is tied for ninth place on two-under-par with Switzerland based Justin Brink, four strokes off the lead on a day when Simon Bryan was disqualified for using a rangefinder on the first hole at a breezy La Cala Resort near Malaga.
South Africa's Albert Venter carded a six-under 65 on the America Course to lead from Spain's Ivan Cantero, who shot a four-under-par 68 at the Asia Course in the 54-hole race for 35 cards.
Venter, who won the First Stage earlier this week, was pleased with his opening round.
"The course looks like some in South Africa." the 21-year-old said. "It is a bit shorter but it is narrow and you have to keep the ball in play.
"I am happy to keep on playing well. I have some experience of playing in the wind, in Scotland for example. I played some events on European Tour, (Dunhill Links) but I missed the first stage by one so I am here to play in Europe next year."
Mount Juliet's Stephen Grant is tied for 11th after he made two birdies and a bogey in a one-under 70 on the America Course where Naas' Conor O'Rourke made three birdies and three bogeys in a level par 71 to share 18th.
David Carey is tied 64th after a four-over 75 on the America Course and just a shot inside the top 65 who qualify for the third and final round on the Asia Course.
Sean Denny is tied for 137th after a 12-over 84 on the Asia Course.
Players making the cut of the Final Qualifying Stage and finishing between the 36th and the 65th position will be eligible for Category 8 membership of the Alps Tour for the 2018 season while those finishing between 66th and the 144th will be eligible for Category 9 membership.
Players in categories 8 and 9 will be subject to the 2018 re-rank policy adopted by the Alps Tour Committee.
Alps Tour Qualifying School, La Cala Resort (Asia Course Par 72; America Course, Par 71)
T5 Justin Brink 70 (-2, Asia); Michael Dallat (Am) 69 (-2 America)
T11 Stephen Grant 70 (-1, America);
T18 Conor O'Rourke 71 (E, America)
T64 David Carey 75 (+4, America)
T137 Sean Denny 84 (+12, Asia)
Disq. Simon Bryan (America)