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In-form Gary Hurley leads best of Europe


Ballymena's Dermot McElroy

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy

West Waterford's Gary Hurley stormed into the lead in the European Amateur Championship on the Dukes Course at St Andrews yesterday with a stunning opening round.

The 21-year-old carded a five-under-par 66, which included five birdies, to finish one stroke ahead of England's Ben Stow, leaving Hurley out in front on his own.

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy ended the first day tied for 10th after shooting a one-under-par 70.

Finland's Lauri Ruuska is tied for second after his 67.

Palmer Cup player Hurley has been in fine form in recent months, finishing joint fifth in the English Open stroke-play championship in June – won by Stow –and was also the only amateur to make the cut at the Irish Open.

Hurley is bidding to become the first Irish player to lift the crown since Rory McIlroy back in 2006.

Walker Cup star Gavin Moynihan from The Island club endured a tough first round of 77, 11 shots back. He struggled to recover after a start that included two double-bogeys and two bogeys on the first four holes.

Calcot Park's George Wilson is leading the Irish charge at the British Senior Amateur Championship at Ganton, Yorkshire.

His opening-round 72 left him tied for sixth at one-over-par, two shots off the current leader Anthony McLure.

Three-time Irish Senior Amateur Close champion Maurice Kelly (Naas) struggled to a 79 for eight-over .

Elsewhere, Ireland's hopes of retaining the R&A Trophy as Boys Home International champions suffered a jolt as they were agonisingly beaten 8-7 by hosts Scotland in Ayrshire.

Belfast Telegraph