A trio of Irish international representatives lead the way after the opening qualifying round of the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.
Reeve Whitson (Mourne), 2012 champion Rory McNamara (Headfort) and Gary McDermott (Carton House) carded rounds of 67 on a day when weather conditions made life difficult for the competitors.
Heavy rain and strong winds made the going particularly treacherous for the early starters but the tough conditions eased as the day progressed and those with late tee times clearly enjoyed the best of the draw.
The leaders all made their scores at the Valley. Whitson was out in level par 35 but picked upbirdies at the 10th, 13th, 14th and 16thon the way home. He dropped a shot at the par four 17th before polishing off his round with a par at the last.
McNamara also went to the turn in level par 35 after two birdies and two bogeys. He raised his game around the turn rattling off three birdies in the row at the 10th, 11th and 12th and parred in to sign for his 67.
McDermott’s 67 mirrored that of the 2012 winner. He carded two birdies and two bogeys on his way to a front nine 35 before rattling off a trio of birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th.
The Dunluce is traditionally the tougher of the two qualifying courses and proved so again yesterday. Donaghadee’s Andrew Clegg, who began his round at 3.48pm, posted a best of the day 73, a round lit up by an eagle at the par five second.
North of Ireland Amateur Championship (Sponsored by Cathedral Eye Clinic) Leading Day One Scores
At the Valley
1 Reeve Whitson (Mourne) 67
2 Rory McNamara (Headfort Golf Club) 67
3 Gary McDermott (Carton House Golf Club) 67
4 Aaron Grant (Dundalk Golf Club) 68
5 Conor Coyne (Youghal Golf Club) 69
6 Daniel Holland (Castle) 70
7 Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 70
8 Ben Best (Rathmore) 70
9 Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle Golf Club) 70
10 Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 70
11 Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint Golf Club) 71
12 Steffan O’Hara (Co. Sligo Golf Club) 71
13 William Russell (Clandeboye) 71
14 Eugene Smith (Ardee) 71
15 Jonathan Corke (Castletown Golf Club) 71
At The Dunluce
1 Andrew Clegg (Donaghadee Golf Club) 73
2 Garry McGrotty (Portstewart Golf Club) 75
3 Mark Timmins (Mount Wolseley Golf Club) 75
4 Shane McClean (Foyle) 76
5 Simon McConnell (Ballyclare Golf Club) 76
6 Matthew Fitzsimons (Ardglass Golf Club) 76
7 Jason Murphy (Warrenpoint Golf Club) 77
8 Stuart Bleakley (Shandon Park Golf Club) 77
9 Rory Williamson (Holywood Golf Club)77
10 Stuart Winsby (Whitehead Golf Club) 77
11 Glen Mowat (Enniskillen Golf Club) 78
12 James McVicker (Knock) 78
13 Dean Crawford (Moyola Park) 78
14 Mark Rea (Donaghadee Golf Club) 78
15 Ross Dutton (Tandragee Golf Club) 78