Limerick golfer Cian McNamara taking part in European Tour's qualifying school this week
TWO Limerick golfers this week began their quest to secure precious cards on the prestigious European Tour.
Cian McNamara and Tim Rice are competing at the First Qualifying Stage of the European Tour Q-School at Golf d’Hardelot in France.
Thirty one-year-old McNamara, the former South of Ireland winner as an amateur, currently the professional at Monkstown Golf Club, fired a terrific opening round of 68 on Tuesday for -3 and a share of twelfth position in the four-round qualifier.
McNamara’s round included an impressive seven birdies.
Tim Rice, attached to Limerick Golf Club, who won the Irish PGA Championship in spectacular fashion earlier this summer, shot a 74 to be tied 71st in the field. Rice’s round included four bogeys and just one birdie.
Forty-year-old Rice is six shots off the qualifying mark ahead of Wednesday’s second round.
The top 21 players and ties make it through to the second qualifying stage, so McNamara is inside the mark at present.
Leading the way after the opening round is Jack Harrison of England and Spaniard Marcos Pastor on -6.
The European Tour’s Qualifying School is held in three stages - dependent on the individual's status - at a series of venues in the UK and Continental Europe. In the region of 1,000 competitors enter the Qualifying School each year, all aiming for a European Tour card, awarded to the top 25 and ties following the Final Stage.
A player progressing through all three stages will have to play 252 holes under the most intense pressure.
The leading 25 players (plus those tied for 25th place) will earn Category 16 Membership of The European Tour for the following season.