Mark Wilkinson leads the final stage of Q School Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire, where windy conditions played a massive part in the scoring on day one.
Four-under was the round of the day and it belonged to Wilkinson (West Mallin) on the red course. The 24 year-old started at the tenth and picked up five birdies with just one dropped shot in his 67 to lead by a stroke from a cluster of players on the blue course. This week the red course played will play to 71 rather than 73 as appears on the scorecards – with the sixth and 12th holes par fours rather than par fives.
Blustery conditions in Oxfordshire greeted the 240 hopefuls, with the top 120 players plus ties after 36 holes on both courses playing the blue course on Thursday where their finishing positions determining their category for the year.
The best scoring came on the blue course where 15 players’ recorded under-par rounds – and five of those are just one shot behind Wilkinson at three under. Stuart Archibald (Blackmoor GC) was the first to shoot 68, starting on the back nine and flew out of the blocks with birdies on his first three holes. Ignacio Sanchez Palencia also started on the back nine and traded a bogey for a birdie to be level after nine holes. An eagle two at the fifth – his 14th – was followed by a bogey but birdies at seven and eight saw him join Archibald at three under. Nick Drane (Whittlebury) and Scott Herald (Mearns Castle Golf Academy) both hit five birdies in their 68, with Calvin O’Carroll (Unifab.co.uk) recording three birdies in both front and back nine in his.
Craig Smith and Paul Dwyer (Clitheroe) both sit at two under after their rounds of 69 on the blue course, with Chris Kelly (Cawder GC), Peter O’Keeffe, Paul O’Hanlon (Curragh), Robert Hillas (Hollins Hall & Northcliffe GC), Steven Hume, Mark Campbell (Team Ireland), Ismael Castillo and Jon Wetton one stroke behind them with 70’s on the same course.
Martin Sell was the closest challenger to Wilkinson on the red course with five birdies in his two under 69, while Stephen Parry (Bolton), Mariano Saiz and amateur Shaun McAllister (Craigielaw) shot one under rounds of 70.
Wednesday’s second round begins at 8.15am on both courses. Full first round scores are available by clicking on the Score Updates link on the homepage.
Date Posted: 08/04/09