Yates starts well at Chantilly
 Jonathan Yates (Naas) with International teammate Colm Campbell helping on the bag during his recovery from injury at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Jonathan Yates (Naas) with International teammate Colm Campbell helping on the bag during his recovery from injury at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf. Picture by Pat Cashman

Naas' Jonny Yates birdied two of his last five holes to lead the eight-strong Irish challenge in the battle for the Coupe Murat the French Amateur Open Strokeplay at Chantilly

The former West of Ireland champion carded one-under-par 70 to share 14th place after the opening round, leaving him seven strokes off the lead.

France's Victory Yvret proved that an opening bogey is not always a bad thing as he proceeded to birdie the fourth and fifth, eagle the par-five ninth and then play the back nine in five-under 30 for an eight-under 63 and a two-stroke lead over compatriot Jeremy Gandon.

Castle's Alex Gleeson double bogeyed the 10th but picked up two shots coming home to share 30th after a level par 71 with Kinsale's John Murphy 41st after a one-over 72 featuring four birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

The top 40 and ties after 36 holes qualify for the last two rounds on Sunday which means that Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty, Massereene's Tiarnan McLarnon and Tramore's Robin Dawson, the Irish Amateur Open champion, have work to do after 74s.

Like Yates, Hermitage's Rowan Lester clawed back two strokes on the last five holes to share 79th after a five-over 76 while Galway's Ronan Mullarney is tied 84th after he made a slow start and shot 77.

Internationaux de France Messieurs, Coupe Murat, Chantilly (Par 71)

France unless stated

First round (leading scores)

Detailed scores

63 V Veyret

65 J Gandon

67 S Kraii (Ned) 

68 P Melching (Ned), O Huggins (Eng), C Charmasson, O Ambrosius (Den), C Bordonne;

69 J Goth-Rasmussen (Den), B Bawden (Eng), H Tisserand, A Hidalgo (Esp), D Mary.

Irish

70 J Yates (T14);

71 A Gleeson (T30);

72 J Murphy (T41);

74 C Rafferty, T McLarnon, R Dawson (T61);

76 R Lester (T79)

77 R Mullarney (T84).

Team

1, France 2 (-7);

T2, France 1, Denmark (-3);

10, Ireland 2 (Yates, Rafferty Lester, +2);

11, Ireland 1 (Gleeson, Dawson, McLarnon, +3).