|Alfredo Garcia-Heredia will take a three-shot lead into round two of the Irish Challenge after posting a sublime seven under par round of 64 at Portmarnock Links.
The Spaniard took full advantage of the calm early conditions before the wind and rain arrived on the Velvet Strand to lead by three ahead of Englishman Gary King, who sits in second place following a bogey-free four under par round of 67.
The 39-year-old, who admitted to having little experience of playing links golf, was ecstatic with his opening round in Co. Dublin.
“I played really well, it was probably my best round of the year so far,” he said. “I like the area, the place, the hotel and the links golf course is great.
“If you play well, you make a good score, and to shoot seven under I also had to have some good breaks in order to make birdies and save some pars. Honestly, I think my play deserved four or five under, but seven is a good bonus.”
The Gijon native’s red-hot start to proceedings in Ireland continues his good form of late, which includes a tie for 12th place at the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour.
“I have been playing well,” he said. “I was resting at home last week and I needed that break after playing in the Canary Islands. I arrived here on Monday and practiced on Tuesday, so I played 36 holes, which is not normal for me.
“With links golf courses you have to get in as many rounds as possible and focus on the lines, the targets and be patient because the wind can change, and bogeys are definitely out there. It is important to make your pars and then take advantage of the good shots that you hit.
“It is very challenging because the fairways are narrow, the wind is sideways and back into you. It is the most complete golf course I have played this year for sure. You must be playing really well to be successful on this links course.”
Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin shares third place with Ireland’s Cameron Raymond, Spaniard Borja Virto, Scotsman Daniel Young and Sweden’s Felix Palson on three under par, while Germany’s Yannick Paul, Norway’s Kristoffer Reitan and Iceland’s Gudmundur Kristjansson share eighth place on two under par.
The second round of the Irish Challenge will begin at 7:30am local time on Friday May 28, with Garica-Heredia teeing it up at 12:30pm alongside Welshman David Boote and Norway’s Elias Bertheussen.
Round one scores:
64 A GARCIA-HEREDIA (ESP),
67 G KING (ENG),
68 D YOUNG (SCO), F PALSON (SWE), C RAYMOND (IRL), B VIRTO (ESP), T MCKIBBIN (NIR),
69 G KRISTJANSSON (ISL), K REITAN (NOR), Y PAUL (GER),
70 A KNAPPE (GER), D MCELROY (NIR), D BORDA (ESP), M GALIANO AGUILAR (ESP), M BULLEN (ENG),
71 S GREGORY (ENG), J BRUN (FRA), E ROUSAUD (ESP), M HOEY (NIR), B WINDRED (AUS), J DANTORP (SWE), S GREHAN (IRL), B SCHMIDT (ENG), M LUNDBERG (SWE), D HUIZING (NED), C CANNON (ENG),
72 M FENASSE (FRA), D GAVINS (ENG), A WILSON (ENG), O HUNDEB?LL (DEN), A HIETALA (FIN), N KRISTENSEN (DEN), C O’ROURKE (IRL), D BOOTE (WAL), U COUSSAUD (FRA), V RIU (FRA), R DINWIDDIE (ENG), J ARNOY (NOR), J SUGRUE (IRL), M ELVIRA (ESP), R GOUVEIA (POR), E CUARTERO BLANCO (ESP), D HILLIER (NZL), J LANDO CASANOVA (FRA), B HELLGREN (SWE), N MCCARTHY (ENG), C MIVIS (BEL), D WALKLEY (ENG),
73 B MOORE (ENG), P MCBRIDE (IRL), R LUMSDEN (SCO), C PURCELL (IRL), L VACARISAS (ESP), S GROS (FRA), C HANNA (USA), E BERTHEUSSEN (NOR), R LESTER (AM) (IRL), B RUSCH (SUI), J GIRRBACH (SUI), M GRADECKI (POL), J BALLESTEROS (ESP), R DE SOUSA (SUI), E DI NITTO (ITA), J PAUL (GER), J FREIBURGHAUS (SUI), R WILLIAMS (AM) (ENG), F MACCARIO (ITA),
74 S THORNTON (IRL), C MORIARTY (IRL), J JONES (CAN), H ELLIS (ENG), T KOIVISTO (USA), D LAWSON (AUS), M ORRIN (ENG), S FRANKLIN (IRL), N FENWICK (SCO), R VAN WEST (NED), M SVENSSON (SWE), C ROSS (SCO), E DUBOIS (FRA), H ARKENAU (GER), L LIPOLD (AUT), M MANASSERO (ITA), A ZEMMER (ITA), J GARCIA DEL MORAL (ESP), P EDBERG (SWE), E WALKER (SCO), M DALLAT (NIR), J MAURER (AUT), S BROADHURST (ENG), R MULLARNEY (IRL),
75 F LACROIX (FRA), G MOYNIHAN (IRL), B NEIL (SCO), A PLANT (ENG), F BERGAMASCHI (ITA), J KAHLOS (FIN), C BERARDO (FRA), R DAWSON (IRL), M LAMB (ENG), I CANTERO GUTIERREZ (ESP),
76 T RICE (IRL), J BEKIRIAN (FRA), C RAFFERTY (AM) (IRL), L NEMECZ (AUT), L JOHNSTON (SCO), M WIEGELE (AUT), R PETERSSON (SWE), S HENRY (SCO), J FAHRBRING (SWE), J SVENSSON (SWE), P O’KEEFFE (AM) (IRL), G BOURDY (FRA), J YATES (IRL), S FERNANDEZ (ESP), M CARLSSON (SWE), S FORSSTR?M (SWE), D MULLIGAN (IRL), C FARR (ENG),
77 M LAMPERT (GER), M LINDBERG (SWE), D PERRIER (FRA), V ?STERBY (DEN), F NILEHN (SWE), S TILEY (ENG), A EINEVING (SWE), A BLOMME (SWE),
78 P L?NGFORS (SWE), G HURLEY (IRL), S BRYAN (IRL), G BLOOR (ENG), S TARRIO (ESP), G BOYD (ENG), O GILLBERG (SWE), J GALBRAITH (NIR), M BOUCHER (AM) (IRL), E LIPPARELLI (ITA), L NORTHWOOD (GBR), D KEMMER (USA),
79 O FARRELL (ENG), J ANDERSEN (DEN), M HIRMER (GER), M HONKALA (FIN),
80 P GEERTS (ITA), S DEL VAL (ESP), M ORTOLANI (ITA), B MCCARROLL (IRL),
81 M PENGE (ENG), M MURRAY (USA),
84 J KUNZENBACHER (GER), B WALTON (IRL), D QUINONES (USA),