Galway’s Ronan Mullarney made nine birdies in a scintillating course record 62 to take a four-stroke lead after the opening day of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at County Sligo.
The 23-year old birdied the second, third, fifth and ninth to turn in 32, then raced home in 30, making five birdies in a row from the 11th to the 16th.
"There's no point lying, I was nervous coming in there," Maynooth University student Mullarney said after the lowest round of his career. "I had a nice stretch in the middle from 11 to 15, I birdied them all. I've played here a lot. I know the place really well.
"I don't like to hide from the fact if I'm going well. If it comes to the last day and there are a few people following me, I know I'm doing well. There's no point hiding from it. Hopefully, I have to deal with it at some stage."
"I was leading at the Irish Students in Bray a couple of years ago. And I said to [photographer] Pat [Cashman], 'How am I going?' He said: 'When I start to come out, you know you're doing something well.' I knew I was going fairly okay then."
Scotland’s Robbie Muir and Euan Walker and England's James Newton shot five-under 66’s to share second place while Connemara teenager Luke O'Neill and Massereene's Tiarnán McLarnon are the next best of the Irish, tied for fifth on four-under after 67’s.
"Even the pros say it's hard to follow a good round," Mullarney said of his plans for Friday. "I will try my best to take each shot as it comes. Tomorrow is a different day and hopefully, the putts will drop."
McLarnon was also pleased to go bogey-free.
"It was good shooting," the in-form Massereene man said after his bogey-free round. "After nine, I probably felt like I left a couple out there because I was only one under. But then three under coming back in, I was pretty happy with how I played. Any time you go bogey free in a championship, you're playing good golf.
"Stroke play is probably my strongest point so hopefully, I'll have a chance come Sunday evening. I'm playing well. I'm playing golf the way that I want to play it — fairways, greens and hitting nice puts."
Castle's Robert Moran and Fintona's Ryan McNelis are one shot further back in joint 12th alongside 1999 champion Gary Cullen after two-under 69’s.
Flogas Irish Amateur Open, County Sligo (Par 71)
62 R Mullarney (Galway)
66 J Newton (Eng); R Muir (Sco); E Walker (Sco)
67 T McLarnon (Massereene); L O'Neill (Connemara); J Bolton (Eng); J Hull (Eng); K Kouwenaar (Ned); A Edwards-Hill (Eng); C Strickland (Eng)
68 K Cantley (Sco); R McNelis (Fintona); R Moran (Castle)
69 G Cullen (The Links Portmarnock); B Chamberlain (Wal); L Moolman (RSA); J Johnston (Sco); J Wright (Sco); B Firth (Eng); M Farr (Eng); D Antonisse (Ned); J Burnage (Eng)
70 B Dietzel (Ger); G Burns (Sco); A Herrmann (Ger); S MacPherson (Sco); O Brown (Wal); M Kennedy (Royal Dublin); R Cannon (Balbriggan); K Egan (Carton House); D Kitt (Athenry); H Foley (Royal Dublin); M Lamb (Eng); C Purcell (Portmarnock); J Sugrue (Mallow)
71 P Coughlan (Castleknock); M Naysmith (Sco); A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire); J Whelan (Newlands); M Boucher (Carton House); M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire); C Woollam (RSA); J Cass (Eng); A Hietala (Fin); E Murphy (Dundalk); M Honkala (Fin); O Huggins (Eng); M Roberts (Wal); E McCormack (Galway); S Desmond (Monkstown); M Hammer (Ger); P Poate (USA); R Williamson (Holywood); R Brazill (Naas); G Collins (Rosslare); H Byers (Eng); A McCormack (Castletroy)
72 H Goddard (Eng); J McMahon (Eng); L Irvine (Sco); M Deasy (Lee Valley); C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire); D Howie (Sco); L Sanges (Wal); L Owen (Eng); R Black (Hilton Templepatrick); S Roger (Sco)
73 J Cooper (Eng); P McKeever (Castle); I Lynch (Rosslare); M McClean (Malone); G Dunne (Co. Louth); H Islam (Eng); T Vahlenkamp (Ger); M Scowsill (Eng); M Hirmer (Ger); C Thornton (Eng); S Turner (Eng); S Walsh (Portmarnock); E Mcintosh (Sco); J Rowe (Tandragee); W Porter (Sco); J McDonnell (Forrest Little); M Markovits (Ned); S Doyle (Black Bush); J Wilson (Sco); M Power (Kilkenny)
74 C Knipes (Eng); P Connolly (Killeen Castle); A Marshall (Lisburn); D Langley (Eng); J Byrne (Baltinglass); R Foley (Sui); L Hinton (Eng); M Essam (Eng); S Flanagan (Co. Sligo); J Walsh (Castle); R O'Connor (Co. Sligo); E Smith (The Links Portmarnock); J Hawksby (Eng)
75 R Latimer (Knock); M Herrmann (Ger); C Barrow (Eng); J Hapgood (Wal); M McKinstry (Cairndhu); C Butler (Kinsale); F O'Sullivan (Tralee); J McCarthy (Grange)
76 R Dutton (Tandragee); F van Dijk (Ned); D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh); C Wilson (Sco); M Norton (Belvoir Park); P O'Keeffe (Douglas); W Dodds (Eng)
77 C Morris (Wal); J Davies (Wal); J Temple (Portmarnock); D West (Eng); T Tetak (Slo); J Biggs (Eng); C Campbell (Warrenpoint); R Lyons (Olympic); C Otten (Ger); C Wilson (Can)
78 C Salter (Eng); Z Karkaletsos (Eng); J Stokes (Eng); M Harris (Wal)
79 K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire); T O'Connor (Athlone)
80 J Fox (Portmarnock)
82 W Small (Tandragee)
85 M McCormack (The Island)