Elliot Saltman is one of five players sharing the lead at four under after the first round of the Green17 Faithlegg Championship at the Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Club in Waterford – the second event on the 2009 PGA EuroPro Tour.
Official bookmakers Sky Bet made Saltman (pictured) the joint favourite at 14/1 after his second place finish in the opening event at Collingtree Park and a losing play-off at Faithlegg on last year’s Tour. The Scotsman won the Pro-Am in Northampton last week and continued his fine start to the year by racing to three under after four holes thanks to an eagle on the second and a birdie at the fourth. Further shots were gained at the 11th and 13th for Saltman to move to five under but a bogey at 14 and pars to the finish saw him shoot 68.
Kieran Staunton (Woodcote Park) also stormed to three under after four holes and went out four under after picking up another shot at the seventh. Four soon became five with his fifth birdie of the round on the tenth but like Saltman, he dropped a shot soon after at the 12th to also shoot 68. It was a back-nine birdie burst from Adam Mason (AJM Golf Ltd) that sees him in the leading group with four birdies in the first five holes on the back nine after going out one under – but a bogey at the last robbed him of sole possession of the lead. Irishman Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas GC) started his round on the back nine and also recorded four birdies after five holes and seven birdies in total – meaning the 9/1 shot to be the Top Irishman at Faithlegg will rue his double bogey at the seventh. Jeremy Kavanagh (Stoke Park) completes the quintet after also starting on the back nine – five birdies and one bogey in his 68.
Paul Grannell (Vale Royal Abbey) won the Pro-Am with a round of 67 and leads a quartet of player’s one stroke behind the leaders on three under. Like many of the leaders, Grannell burst out of the blocks racing to three under par after three holes before bogeys at five and six pegged him back. He birdied the eighth to go out at two under but bogeyed the 12th to drop to one under, before what could turn out to be crucial back to back birdies at 14 and 15 saw him shoot 69. Brendan McCarroll (Ballyliffin/Prepa Golf) finished strongly on the front nine with two birdies to move to three under, while Andrew Thorpe (Peterborough Milton) dropped a shot at the 17 to miss out on a spot with the leaders.
James Ruebotham (Welwyn Garden City GC) completes the chasing pack after a topsy-turvy front nine with four birdies and two bogeys was followed by a more serene ending to his round with two more birdies and one further dropped shot.
It was a fine day of scoring in Ireland with 18 players at two under par (70) and a further ten players a shot behind them at one under (71). The 16 players who shot level par rounds of 72 meant that 53 players recorded rounds of level par or better in what is promising to be a keenly fought tournament. Steve Surry (Cumberwell Park) was Saltman’s companion as favourite at 14/1 with Sky Bet and he is five shots behind the Scotsman after a one over par 73.
The full first round leaderboard from the Green17 Faithlegg Championship scores are available by clicking on the Score Updates link on the homepage, where the second round scores will be live when play begins at 7.30am on Thursday.
Date Posted: 13/05/09