Richard Kilpatrick fired a four under par 68 in tricky conditions to grab the lead on day one of the 108th Irish PGA Championship at Galway Bay Golf Resort.
The Banbridge golfer, playing with a nagging hip injury, leads Delgany’s Mark Staunton by a shot with four players, including defending champion, Tim Rice from Limerick, tied for third on one-under-par.
“It was windy but it wasn't as bad as we initially thought it was going to be. It was very playable,” said Kilpatrick who posted a round that included seven birdies along and three bogeys.
“I've a labral tear on my right hip and I'm trying to manage it. That means I haven't been practicing much so my expectations are pretty low, I just go out and play golf.”
Staunton felt he had been 'relatively lucky' with the draw having begun his round just as the worst of the morning showers cleared.
“You were playing into a three-club wind at times so you had to try and work it around a bit. It wasn't pretty,” said the 36-year-old.
“I birdied all the par fives but I also got a couple of good breaks on the back nine. I hit a few bad shots and luckily they finished in the right spots.”
Rice stayed in touch with a three-birdie, two-bogey round of 71 as did Wednesday's Pro-Am winner, Brian McEhinney (North West), who signed for a level par 72.
PGA officials are monitoring the progress of Storm Callum and as a precaution have cancelled all play tomorrow morning. Play is scheduled to get underway via a shot-gun start at 2pm.
108th Irish PGA Championship, Galway Bay Golf Resort (Par 72)
Sponsored by TLC Nursing Homes
68 Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC)
69 Mark Staunton (Delgany GC)
71 Steven Quinlan (SQ Golf), Tim Rice (Limerick GC), Neil O'Briain (Old Conna GC), Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort)
72 Michael Mulryan (Cregboy Golf Academy), Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny GC), Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin GC), Brian McElhinney (North West GC)
73 Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching), Seamus Clinton (Gormastown Driving Range & Golf)
74 Padraig McGrath (P & M Golf Superstore Ltd), Shane Franklin (Cregmore Park GC), Shane Jenkinson (St Margaret's Golf & CC), Eamonn Brady (Clontarf GC), Damian Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), Paul O'Neill (Shannon GC)
75 Richard Weldon (Black Bush GC), Stephen McCarthy (Black Bush GC), David Ryan (Cahir Park GC), Damien McGrane (Carlow GC), Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC), Kenny Fahey (GUI National Academy)
76 Enda Maguire (Co. Louth GC), Graham Byrne (Palmerstown House Estate), Mark Whelan (Castlewarden Golf & CC)
77 Brian Carroll , Mark Beckett (Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort), David Hughes (Massereene GC), Derry Kiely (Faithlegg GC), Brian Jnr McCormack (Royal Dublin GC), Raymond Ryan (Thurles GC), Leslie Walker (Dundalk GC), David Mortimer (Galway GC)
78 Michael O'Shea (Rathsallagh GC), Gerard Hall (Edenderry Golf Academy), Brian O'Reilly (Glenlo Abbey GC), Brian Doheny (Callan GC), John Dignam (Slade Valley GC), Darren Walsh (Wexford GC)
79 Ciaran Hegarty (Millicent GC), Richard Bridges (Castle GC), Thomas Minshull (Royal Portrush GC),
80 Shane Irwin (Monkstown GC), Ted Higgins (www.tedhiggins.com), Mark O'Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre), Gerry Burke (Royal Curragh GC), Gary Madden (Glenlo Abbey GC)
81 Stephen Walsh (Sutton GC), Patrick Small (Galway GC), Bernard Quigley (Tullamore GC),
82 John McQuaid (Rossmore GC), Michael McDermott (Grange GC), James Quinlivan (Mullingar GC), Bradley Cohen (Wexford GC)
83 Michael Alexander (Holywood GC), Brendan Walton (Roganstown Golf & CC), Richard O'Donovan (Dun Laoghaire GC)
84 Sean Cannon (Athenry GC)
85 Colm Dunne (Castlewarden Golf & CC), Sean Whelan (Athenry GC)
86 Stephen Rayfus (Knightsbrook Golf & CC)
87 Colin O'Gorman (Cahir Park GC), Peter O'Hagan (Luttrellstown Castle GC)
88 Shane Ryan (Thurles GC), Emmanuel Riblet (Knightsbrook Golf & CC), John Casey (Tralee GC)
DQ Mark Sutton (Hollywood Lakes GC)
NR Donard MacSweeney (Mullingar GC), Donal Murphy (Grange Castle GC), Roy O'Neill (Galway GC)
- Stephen Crooks (Holywood GC), Christopher Gallaher (Green Acres Golf Centre)