Warrenpoint international Colm Campbell is leading the chasing pack at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open.
Campbell made a sweet birdie three at the last to post a first round 68 at Royal Dublin, which leaves him just one shot behind the leader, Jack Hume.
“I am playing a lot more consistently than I was this time last year,” said Campbell, who went one better than last year’s opening round effort. “The conditions were perfect,” he reckoned. “When we teed off, there was only a one-club wind. It was ideal for links golf.”
The 29-year-old chipped in for an eagle three at the sixth and made two birdies on the back nine to end the day just one behind Hume.
“I think he (Hume) is going to be the one to take down this week,” said Campbell. “He just doesn’t give you a break, does he? He is just so consistent. He is playing great golf and has been since the Walker Cup last year. I went to Q-School with Jack last year and since then he has been really consistent.”
Hume, like Campbell, is chasing his first win at the Irish Amateur and is perfectly placed after an opening round 67. Hume also made eagle at the sixth, holing out from 60 yards.
In a front nine of 31 (four under), Hume had birdies at two, three, five and eight.
“I think I played well enough to be a couple lower,” said the 22-year-old, who had further chances at 15, 16 and 17. Another birdie putt at 18 hung on the lip.
“Maybe I could have held a couple more,” said Hume, “but maybe (I’m) not giving myself credit for the ones I held. I would have taken 67 at the start of the day.”
Conditions were certainly ripe for scoring although no one could match Hume’s 67. England’s Sam Whitaker came closest. The 24-year-old from Lincolnshire moved alongside Hume with his fifth birdie of the day on 14 but a closing bogey left him sharing second overnight with Campbell.
Although temperatures dropped in the afternoon, the scoring remained hot. With four birdies on the back nine, Waterford’s Eanna Griffin moved alongside Whitaker and Campbell.
“You have to use your head and hole a few putts,” said Griffin after posting his lowest round of the year. “Any time you have no bogeys on the back nine around Royaller is pretty good.”
Griffin’s card featured an eagle at the second, where he rolled in a 10-footer while he drove the 16th green for a two-putt birdie on the way home.
Among the group at three under are Portmarnock teenager Conor Purcell, Barry Daly from Edmonstown and Massereene’s Tiaran McLarnon.
Calm conditions are forecast for Friday morning’s second round although afternoon rain could cause problems for the late starters.