Tulfarris Golf Resort’s Simon Thornton fired a four under par 68 to grab the overnight lead at the PGA Irish Club Professional Tournament sponsored by Carr Golf at Dromoland Castle Golf Club.
Thornton is a shot ahead of the in-form Clontarf’s Eamonn Brady with Cahir Park’s David Ryan and Headfort’s Joe Dillon tied for third after level par 72s.
Simon made a blistering start to his round collecting birdies at the first and second. A run of pars followed before he fired another birdie salvo at the eighth, ninth and 10th.
The 41-year-old reached six under par with a further birdie at the par four 15th but a double bogey finish at the par five 18th eventually saw him sign for a four under 68 (32/36).
Defending champion, David Higgins slipped to a five over par 77 that left him in a tie for 27th.
The final 18 holes gets underway on Thursday at 8am. Thornton will start at 11.40am in a threeball featuring Brady and Dillon.
PGA Irish Club Professional Tournament
Sponsored by Carr Golf, Monami Construction & DS automobiles, Dromoland Castle GC (Par 72)
68 S Thornton (Tulfarris);
69 E Brady (Clontarf);
72 D Ryan (Cahir Park), J Dillon (Headfort);
73 M Murphy (Mount Wolseley), J Bolger (Kilkenny), T Delaney (Carlow);
74 M Mulryan (Cregboy Golf Academy), J McDermott (Grange), T Rice (Limerick), N O'Briain (Old Conna), C Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC), Michael McGeady (Untt.), D Barry (Douglas).