Classy Cannon blasts course record 64 to lead Munster Stroke Play
 Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan) at the 2016 East of Ireland Championship. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan) at the 2016 East of Ireland Championship. Picture by Pat Cashman

Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon rolled back the years when he blasted a sensational course record 64 to take a one-stroke lead in the final two rounds of the Munster Stroke Play Championship at Cork Golf Club.

The former South of Ireland and Irish Amateur Open champion (39) followed an opening 78 with the best round of the day by three shots as he rattled in nine birdies in the afternoon to lead by a stroke on two-under-par from a six-strong chasing posse at Little Island.

It was a remarkable turnaround for the former international, who has played little golf in recent seasons.

 Robbie Cannon shows off his card - 64 blows around Cork Golf Club

Robbie Cannon shows off his card - 64 blows around Cork Golf Club

Last year, he got to the third round of the West, withdrew with illness in the East, failed to qualify in the North, reached the quarterfinals in the South and lost in the first round of the Close before finishing tied second in the Irish Mid-Amateur Open Championship at Clandeboye.

He might have been thinking of the cut mark after making a quintuple bogey eight at the ninth in his opening 78.

But he showed that class is permanent in the afternoon as he followed a birdie four at the second with his lone bogey at the fourth before catching fire with six birdies in seven holes from the sixth followed by two more in his last five holes.

After making a three at the sixth, he had twos at the seventh and ninth to turn in 31, then birdied the 10th, 11th and 12th before picking up two more strokes at the 14th and 18th in a homeward 31.

He leads on two-under 142 by just one stroke from Dun Laoghaire's Marc Nolan (75 68), Monkstown's Sean Desmond (72 71), Waterford's Eanna Griffin (71 72), Ardee's Evan Farrell (71 72), Dundalk's Aaron Grant (70 73) and Cork's Gary O'Flaherty (68 75) who led by  two shots from Grant after the morning round.

Warrenpoint's Ryan Gribben is just two shots behind after rounds of 71 and 73.

The cut fell at five-over 149, and with the top 27 covered by just five strokes, the event is still wide open.

All 40 survivors are seeking valuable Bridgestone Order of Merit points with the top two at the end of the season winning places in the Irish team for the Home Internationals.

Munster Stroke Play Championship, Cork Golf Club (Par 72)

Detailed scores | Tee-times

After 36 holes

142 R Cannon (Balbriggan) 78 64 

143 M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) 75 68; S Desmond (Monkstown) 72 71; E Griffin (Waterford) 71 72; E Farrell (Ardee) 71 72; A Grant (Dundalk) 70 73; G O’Flaherty (Cork) 68 75 

144 R Gribben (Warrenpoint) 71 73 

145 C Butler (Kinsale) 72 73; G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 72 73; P O’Keeffe (Douglas) 70 75 

146 J Keane (Lahinch) 79 67; A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 75 71; P Connolly (Killeen Castle) 74 72; P Murray (Clontarf) 74 72; J Sugrue (Mallow) 74 72; M Collins (Killeen Castle) 74 72; J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 73 73; A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud) 72 74 

147 E Long (Monkstown) 77 70; A McCormack (Castletroy) 76 71; R Brazill (Naas) 75 72; K McCarthy (Kinsale) 74 73; B Murray (Waterford Castle) 73 74; J Temple (Portmarnock) 73 74; R Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 72 75; M Healy (Kinsale) 71 76 

148 J Fox (Portmarnock) 76 72; R Williamson (Holywood) 73 75; I O’Rourke (The Royal Dublin) 71 77; T Neenan (Lahinch) 70 78 

149 J Ryan (Castletroy) 79 70; D Coghlan (Portmarnock) 78 71; M McKinstry (Cairndhu) 76 73; J Pierse (Portmarnock) 76 73; D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 75 74; D Brophy (Castleknock) 75 74; J Hickey (Cork) 75 74; I O'Flynn (Cork G.C.) 75 74; R O'Connor (Co. Sligo) 74 75 

Cut

150 R Dutton (Tandragee) 78 72; H Foley (The Royal Dublin) 78 72; D McMahon (Castletroy) 76 74; R McKinstry (Cairndhu) 75 75; A Ryan (Thurles) 74 76; G Dunne (Co. Louth) 74 76; 

151 T O’Connor (Athlone) 77 74; R Moran (Castle) 76 75; T Ford (Co. Sligo) 75 76; 

152 J Byrne (Baltinglass) 77 75; W Small (Tandragee) 76 76; B Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 73 79; 

153 C Feeney (Co. Sligo) 81 72; G O’Mahony (Fota Island) 80 73; A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 75 78; G Ward (Kinsale) 75  78; P Carey (Nenagh)  75  78; C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown)  74  79;      

154 H Gillivan (Westport) 77 77; 

155 J Madden (Royal Portrush) 80 75; R Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 77 78; T Plunkett (Crover House) 76 79; 

156 P O’Connor (Macroom) 75 81; 

157 F Kennedy (The Island) 81 76; R Pierse (Grange) 78 79; G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 76  81; D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown)  76  81; D O’Donovan (Muskerry)  73  84;      

159 S McGlynn (Portmarnock) 82 77; P Flynn (Tramore) 80 79; D Brady (Co. Sligo) 79 80; 

162 M O’Sullivan (The International) 79 83; S O’Brien (Nenagh) 77 85;

165 I Lynch (Rosslare) 85 80 

NR R Clarke (Wexford) 83 NR