Caldwell best of the Irish while there are green shoots for Dunne in Ponsa

by Ronan MacNamara  

Paul Dunne by Golffile

Jonathan Caldwell leads the Irish charge after the first round of the Mallorca Golf Open thanks to a fine opening round of 66 to leave him on four-under, just four shots behind Denmark’s Jeff Winther.

The Clandeboye native was in electric form as he turned in 32 as an opening birdie was complimented by gains on five and nine in a flawless front nine.

His momentum continued with a brace of birdies on 11 and 12 before a bogey on 13 was swiftly forgotten about thanks to a birdie on 14.

Caldwell dropped a shot on 16 but he sits in a share of 14th place that includes Andrew Beef Johnston and Eddie Pepperell.

One shot further back and which is the feel good story of the day, is Paul Dunne.

The Greystones native has been showing signs of emerging from the golfing wilderness and has been buoyant about his game in recent weeks and he will have a smile on his face after an opening round 67.

Dunne, who won the British Masters in 2017 has suffered injury hell over the last two years on top of the pandemic but his five birdie round is another step in the right direction for the 28-year-old.

Dunne birdied his opening hole to set the tone for the day before a brace of gains on five and six.

Having turned in 33, the former Walker Cup player birdied 11 and 13 before a bogey on 13 saw him remain on three-under.

The next step for Dunne is backing up his good starts having missed the cut at the Dunhill after an opening round 67.

There’s little else to cheer about from an Irish standpoint with Niall Kearney back on one-over after an extremely frustrating round where he finished with eleven consecutive pars.

Cormac Sharvin is alongside Kearney while Gavin Moynihan looks like he will have the weekend to sample the local hot spots in Santa Ponsa after a seven-over 77 on day one.

It is safe to say Winther loves Spain, having shot a 62 at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open earlier in the season and he equalled his lowest European Tour round today with a fine 62.

The Dane carded four consecutive birdies in two separate spells on both nines to set himself apart from the field early on and he feels he reaped the rewards of not practicing on Wednesday.

"Very pleased," he said. "Played with two great guys today (Matthieu Pavon and Victor Dubuisson), we had a lot of fun out there, so it was lovely.

"I didn't have any expectations going into this week, got my family here so we are just trying to enjoy it.

"I took the whole day off yesterday, didn't touch a club. Warmed up on the range where we can only hit five irons. Apparently that's the way to do it."

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