European Amateur: O'Rourke and Dawson start well at Walton Heath
 Conor O'Rourke. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Conor O'Rourke. Picture by Pat Cashman

Naas' Conor O'Rourke made seven birdies in a five-under 67 to lead a strong Irish challenge in the European Amateur Championship at Walton Heath.

One of Ireland's five Walker Cup panellists, O'Rourke ended the opening day tied for sixth place, just three strokes behind Milan's Lorenzo Scalise, whose 64 gave him a one-shot lead over South African Keegan de Lange and England's Toby Briggs.

Frenchman Jeremy Gandon and Amateur Championship runner-up Dylan Perry are fourth after 66s.

Tramore's Robin Dawson bogeyed the first but was immaculate after that, following birdies at the fourth and 12th with an eagle at the par-five 14th and a birdie four at the 16th as he carded a 68 worth a share of ninth place.

The Island's Paul McBride, Tullamore's Stuart Grehan, Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell and Laytown and Bettystown's Thomas Mulligan all shot 70 to lie joint 30th on two-under.

Mulligan, who heads for the University of Oregon later this summer, bogeyed the fourth and fifth but then made an eagle two at the 440-yard fifth and added three back-nine birdies before dropping a shot at the last.

Portmarnock's Conor Purcell and Naas' Jonathan Yates opened with level par 72s with Castle's Alex Gleeson 76th after a 73 and Whitehead's John-Ross Galbraith 105th after a 75 on a day when the 144-strong field averaged 72.46

European Amateur Championship, Walton Heath (Old Course, Par 72)

Cut - Top 60 Players + ties after round 3

Detailed scores

1 SCALISE, Lorenzo  Golf Club Milano -8 64
T2 DE LANGE, Keegan  Pretoria Country Club -7 65
T2 BRIGGS, Toby  Dunston Hall Golf Club -7 65
T4 GANDON, Jeremy  Rcf La Boulie -6 66
T4 PERRY, Dylan  The Vintage -6 66
T6 FRANSSEN, Rory  Inverness -5 67
T6 O’LOUGHLIN , Daniel  Ruddington Grange -5 67    
T6 O’ROURKE, Conor  Naas -5 67
T9 DAWSON, Robin  Tramore -4 68
T30 MCBRIDE, Paul  The Island Golf Club -2  70
T30 GREHAN, Stuart  Tullamore Gc -2 70
T30 MULLIGAN, Thomas  Laytown And Bettystown -2  70
T30 CAMPBELL, Colm  Warrenpoint Golf Club -2  70
T61 PURCELL, Conor  Portmarnock Par  72
T61 YATES, Jonathan  Naas Golf Club Par 72
T76 GLEESON, Alex  Castle G.C +1  73
T105 GALBRAITH, John-Ross  Whitehead Golf Club +3 75