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Dunne leads the way for the Irish after solid start at Czech Masters

Gavin Moynihan is one shot further back while Pádraig Harrington is on one-over after the first round.

Paul Dunne (file pic).
Paul Dunne (file pic).
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

PAUL DUNNE LED the way for the Irish contingent in the opening round at the Czech Masters after carding a two-under 70 to leave him six shots off the lead.

Dunne made a strong start after an opening round which featured birdies on the second, seventh and 10th holes along with two bogeys on the 15th and 17th, before another birdie on the 18th.

Gavin Moynihan is just one stroke further back after an opening round which included three birdies and two bogeys. Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington carded a one-over 73.

The current leader Gavin Green was once again quick out of the blocks after signing for an opening 64 at the Albatross Golf Resort.

The world number 215 sat in a four-way tie for top spot following the first day of the 2018 edition of the tournament, though he eventually had to settle for finishing third.

However, Green boosted his hopes of improving on that position this time around with an eight-under round on Thursday – the same score as he managed a year ago.

“I don’t know what it is about this place. I think the course suits me well and it helps if you hit it a little longer and a little higher,” he told the European Tour website.

“It helps to be able to stop the ball on the greens. If you get a good drive away you just have a wedge in your hand and you can take advantage of that.”

The Malaysian sits on his own at the summit this time, leading by one shot from Lee Slattery and Erik Van Rooyen, who set the early pace with his seven-under 65.

Lee Westwood struggled, however, carding a one-over par 73, while Padraig Harrington – runner-up 12 months ago - also finished on the same score.

Three-time European Tour winner Edoardo Molinari enjoyed a better day, ending in a tie for fourth after a six-under round of 66.

Reigning champion Andrea Pavan hit four birdies to sign for a blemish-free 68, two ahead of Thomas Bjorn, who played one of the shots of the day with a chip from the fringe of the green on the 14th.

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