Kirkistown Castle teenager Beth Coulter is well on course to qualify for the match play stage of the Women’s Amateur Championship at Hunstanton.
Coulter, coming off the back of winning the Irish Women’s Close Championship a week ago, did all her scoring on the par-fives as she carded an eagle, two birdies and two bogeys in a two-under 71 at the English links to sit just outside the top-10 after the opening round.
With the top-64 and ties qualifying for the match play after today’s second round, Coulter knows all she needs is a solid performance to get into the knockouts, which begin tomorrow.
The 18-year-old opened with eight straight pars and picked up birdies at the par-five ninth and 11th holes, before dropping her first shot of the day at the par-four 13th.
Her finest moment of the day came at the par-five 15th when she carded her eagle and she is in a commanding position heading into day two despite a late bogey at the par-four 17th.
Clandeboye’s Rebekah Gardner, meanwhile, has work to do as a hugely eventful four-over 77 left her just inside the top-100.
The 17-year-old opened with a birdie at the par-five second, but back-to-back bogeys and then a quadruple-bogey in her next three holes left her scrambling.
Gardner would add an eagle, four birdies and five bogeys on her way back to the clubhouse, with one of those birdies at the par-three 18th giving her some hope going into the second round, with the cut for the top-64 currently sitting at one-over.
Elsewhere, there was no luck for any of the Ulster players at the first stage of Open Championship qualifying as none of them managed to progress to the final stage at three separate locations.
Amateurs Jack Madden (Royal Portrush) and Simon Ward (Belvoir Park), and Whitehead professional John-Ross Galbraith came closest at Co Louth as they finished one shot out of a play-off place after each carded rounds of one-under 71.
Meanwhile, the Connacht Under-14 Boys Open takes place today, with Clandeboye’s Harry O’Hara and Massereene’s Scott McCabe leading a 12-strong Ulster contingent at Westport.