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Five share the lead after day one at the Fota Island Resort

Five share the lead after day one at the Fota Island Resort

July 6th, 2011

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Five players share the lead after a thrilling opening day of the Audi Cork Irish Masters at the Fota Island Resort in Cork, Ireland.

The event, the sixth of the 2011 EuroPro Tour season, features the best up-and-coming British and Irish golfers with more than 150 men battling for the £10,000 top prize. This was the first time the Tour had held an event at Fota Island, a venue that had previously hosted the Irish Open on the main European Tour.

Conditions were very wet at the start of the day and Jamie Abbott was an early clubhouse leader as his flawless round of -4 (68) included birdies at the second, seventh, tenth and 18th.

Abbott (Fynn Valley, Suffolk, pictured) won the opening event of the season at Wensum Valley, Norfolk but failed to make the cut at the other two EuroPro Tour events he has played this year.

However, Abbott was later joined on -4 by England’s Ian Ridgway, South African Darryn Lloyd, Scotsman Shaun McAllister (Craigielaw, East Lothian) and Ireland’s Neil O’Briain, who would have had an overnight lead if had not double bogeyed the 18th.

Graeme Dunlea (Adare, County Limerick), Paul Maddy (Gog Magog, Cambridgeshire) and Adam Hodkinson are a shot further back on -3 (67). It promises to be a fantastic, hard-fought competition as more than a dozen players are on -2 after rounds of 68.

Chris Hanson (Woodsome Hall) and Graeme Clark (Doncaster) are first and second in the Order of Merit respectively, but both need solid rounds on Thursday if they are to make the cut.

Hanson, who has won two of the five tournaments so far in 2011, described his round as ‘very average’ as he made birdies at the 10th and 17th but a bogey at the 15th and double at the par-four sixth left him on +1 (73).

Graeme Clark is also on the same score, although he made a good start with two birdies in the first four holes of the front nine but bogeys at three of the next four saw him drop down the leaderboard.

Andy Shakespear (Benton Hall, Essex) held a share of the lead with four birdies in the opening five holes but it proved to be much ado about nothing as he made three bogeys in his next six holes.

All of the entrants will play a second round on Thursday and at the end of that the top 50 plus ties will advance to the final round on Friday where the overall champion will collect £10,000.

The action is being filmed and Matchroom sport will produce a two-hour highlights package that will be broadcast on Sky Sports on Wednesday, July 20.

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