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Dermot McElroy and John-Ross Galbraith show they can shine at a higher level

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Dermot McElroy. Credit: Patrick Bolger

Dermot McElroy. Credit: Patrick Bolger

Dermot McElroy. Credit: Patrick Bolger

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy and Whitehead’s John-Ross Galbraith made the most of rare Challenge Tour starts as both opened with solid rounds at the B-NL Challenge Trophy in the Netherlands.

McElroy, who is still riding the high of his first professional win at the recent Cubefunder Championship, carded a two-under 69 at The Dutch in Spijk to sit in a tie for 20th, while Galbraith was one shot further back after a 70 to lie 33rd.

That has them trailing early leader Marcus Helligkilde of Denmark, who already has a two-shot advantage after the first round having begun with a bogey-free eight-under 63, with Austria’s Lukas Nemecz in second after a 65.

Meanwhile, Galgorm’s Michael Hoey is at level par after a 71 and is in 54th, with all three Northern Ireland men currently inside the cut mark and looking up the leaderboard.

Both McElroy and Galbraith usually compete on the PGA EuroPro Tour, the tier below the Challenge Tour, but the pair have received temporary promotions for one week and looked right at home on the higher stage.

Ballymena man McElroy (28) was solid throughout the day, bouncing back from a bogey on his opening hole with four birdies and just one more dropped shot in his 69, while Galbraith — starting at the 10th hole — also opened with a bogey but he too only dropped one more stroke after that, birdieing three to finish under par.

Hoey, meanwhile, had also started at the 10th and was under par after three birdies and one bogey, but dropped a shot at his final hole to finish the day where he began.

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Meanwhile, on the European Tour, both Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin will need to pick up their form on day two of the Omega European Masters in Crans Montana, Switzerland to stick around for the weekend.

Caldwell is the better placed of the pair in 74th after a level-par 70 but Sharvin will have to go low today to make the cut after signing for a 73 in his first round.

Both players are a long way off the leader, however, with England’s James Morrison streets ahead of anybody else after a course-record 10-under 60 at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club that featured nine birdies, an eagle and, remarkably, also one bogey.

Clandeboye man Caldwell, who hosted the NI Masters at his home course last week, returned to top-tier action with a rather tame day at the foot of the Swiss Alps as he picked up just two birdies and two bogeys in his round, although he did well to bounce back after those two bogeys came in his opening four holes.

Sharvin, who started on 10, also needed a response of sorts after a horror seven-hole stretch that featured four bogeys and a double, which had him four over after two holes, but he managed to bring himself back into contention to make the cut by birdieing his final two holes.

Morrison, meanwhile, has a three-shot lead at the top of the leaderboard after Marcus Armitage and Robin Sciot-Siegrist carded seven-under 63s.


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