Colm Moriarty leads Irish challenge on day one of PGA Play-Offs at Saunton Golf Club

Colm Moriarty of Drive Golf Performance Ltd plays his first shot on the 1st tee during day one of The 2016 PGA Play-Offs at Saunton Golf Club on October 24, 2016 in Braunton, England. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Colm Moriarty of Drive Golf Performance Ltd plays his first shot on the 1st tee during day one of The 2016 PGA Play-Offs at Saunton Golf Club on October 24, 2016 in Braunton, England. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Colm Moriarty led a powerful day one performance from the Irish quartet competing in the 2016 PGA Play-Offs at Saunton in Devon.
The Drive Golf Performance Centre pro carded a five-birdie round of 69 in tough conditions to set the pace alongside Matthew Cort and Paul Streeter.
Just a stroke further back on -1 are Neil O’Briain of Old Conna Golf Club and Damien McGrane.
It leaves the trio of Irish stars perfectly placed for a charge at the title in the four round event which carries a £2,000 winner’s cheque plus the chance to play in European Tour events next season.
The top ten finishers are guaranteed a place in next year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth while there are two places up for grabs at the British Masters as well three spots in the GB & Ireland PGA Cup team.
Moriarty’s round warmed up in the autumn chill with three birdies in four holes either side of the turn. Two dropped shots pegged him back to level par before a sparkling run of two birdies in the last four lifted him to the top of the leaderboard.
He said: “The first few holes were quite tricky and I had to hole a very good putt for a par on the fourth to remain one over.
“But from that point for the next eight holes I was hitting really, really good shots into every hole, inside 20ft each time and maybe I didn’t hole my fair share of putts.”
The last time Moriarty played the course was 19 years ago in the British Boys.
“I vaguely remember the course from back then,” he said.
“It was nice to put myself in contention on the first day and I was pleased with my performance with my mid-irons.”
O’Briain was two over after four holes but fired himself back into contention thanks to a four birdie run over nine holes with just a bogey at the par three 17th leaving him a stroke outside the leading trio.
Birdies on two of the par fives helped take McGrane to one under par while David Higgins (Waterville) signed for a one over par 73 that left him in a share of eighth.

Day one scores from the PGA Play-offs

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