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Donegal's McGee best of the Irish at PGA Catalunya after a blistering start

The Rosapenna man carded an opening round 64 to leave him at six under par.

RUAIDHRI MCGEE WAS best of the seven-man Irish contingent after the opening round of the Qualifying School Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona yesterday.

The Rosapenna golfer carded a six-under par score of 64 on the easier of the two courses the 156-man field will play this week.

The Derry man posted three birdies in the opening nine holes and followed it with four more after he made the turn, his bogey at 11 the only blot on his copybook.

He’s currently in a tie for ninth but well inside the top 25 and ties who will receive European Tour playing cards for 2016.

The 24 year-old is five shots off the pace set by Australian Nick Cullen who was in stunning form on his way to a nine under par round of 61.

Bridgestone Invitational Golf Australian Nick Cullen leads after the opening round. Source: Tony Dejak/AP/Press Association Images

He was four under at the turn after birdies on the third, fourth, seventh and eighth and followed it with an even more impressive back nine, shooting five more on the easier Tour course.

McGee will know there’s a lot of golf to be played yet and he tees off from the Stadium course at 11.05 today in in a five-way tied for fourth.

Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan had to settle for a level par 70 on the Tour Course that left him tied 68th.

Phelan, who qualified here two years ago but missed out last year, shot a double bogey at the fifth yesterday while a bogey on 15 left him with some work to do today.

He tees off from the Stadium course at 9.45am this morning.

Golf - Walker Cup - Day One - Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Paul Dunne finished his opening round on one under. Source: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It was a good day for Open hero Paul Dunne, Simon Thornton and Damien McGrane as they each carded a one under round of 71, all on the tougher Stadium Course.

Dunne, still only 22, was two over through the turn after firing three bogeys with one birdie but he showed great resolve to sink three birdies at the 13th, 15th and 17th to keep himself well in contention.

Thornton will be kicking himself after three birdies in the opening nine holes left him towards the top of the leaderboard but he undid that with four bogeys on the way in, birdies on 12 and 14 seeing him just about finish in the red.

Golf - 2015 BMW PGA Championship - Day Two - Wentworth Golf Club Peter Lawrie has some work to do after a tough first day. Source: Adam Davy/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Brian Casey and Peter Lawrie, meanwhile, have given themselves some work to do after each finishing four over for the day.

Spanish Open winner Lawrie sandwiched a double bogey on the second with two birdies but three bogeys by the turn had him in all kinds of trouble.

Another double bogey on 13 saw him drop two more shots but he pulled one shot back with a birdie on 15.

He tees off from the Tour course at 10.45am this morning.

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Brian Canty

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