England's Bradley Moore leads by one after the first stroke play qualifying round of the 2015 Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale.
The 17-year-old from Kedleston Park posted a seven-under-par 65 at Southport & Ainsdale to lead by one from Frenchman Romain Vallaeys with fellow Englishman Oliver Clarke a shot further back on five-under-par. Sweden's Felix Palson recorded the best round of the day at Royal Birkdale with a four-under-par 67.
Moore enjoyed a remarkable front nine, eagling the par four 4th hole after holing his wedge shot approach from 116 yards, and then eagling the 489 yard par five 7th after his six-iron approach finished 8ft from the hole. The Carris Trophy winner, who finished tied 23rd at last week's European Amateur Championship in Slovakia, recovered from a dropped shot on the 11th to birdie four of the last five holes.
"It always helps with two eagles but apart from that it was solid golf," said the England boys squad member. "All you have to do is qualify so I'm not too worried that I am leading. I am just looking for another solid round tomorrow to get through and then it is a different game after that."
Vallaeys took the early lead after producing an excellent six-under-par 66 at Southport & Ainsdale. The 17-year-old from Terre Blanche carded four birdies on the front nine before eagling the par 5 9th hole. Vallaeys, who finished tied 14th at the recent Grand Prix des Landes at Hossegor in France, picked up further shots on the 10th and 16th holes with the only blemishes on his card coming with dropped shots at the 3rd and the 15th.
"There wasn't really anything bad today, even when the shot was not good the consequences weren't so bad," he said.
Oliver Clarke used his local knowledge to good effect when he posted a five-under-par 67 at Southport & Ainsdale. The Hillside member, who was third at the Irish Boys Championship in June, reached the turn in 33, four-under-par, and bounced back from bogeying the 11th, with birdies at the 16th and 17th.
"It was great, I managed to hit almost every fairway and green today. It was just a good solid round of golf really," said the English boys squad member
"I would consider this to be one of the biggest junior events in the world. If I was able to win, especially so close to home, it would be unbelievable. You can't get much better than that really.
"Birkdale tomorrow is a longer course with narrower fairways and I will just stick to my game plan which is to hit fairways and greens, stay patient and play the best I can."
Palson carded four birdies and no dropped shots on the way to a 67 at Royal Birkdale. The 18-year-old from Lidingo, whose best finish so far this season was 11th at the German Boys Championship at St Leon-Rot, is looking to follow in his countryman Oskar Bergqvist's footsteps after his victory in last year's championship at Prestwick.
He said, "It was very solid. I was hitting greens and putting very good today so I'm very pleased. I know Oskar well so I would hope to win here of course and see Sweden win again."
Four players were tied on three-under-par after their rounds at Southport & Ainsdale, Daniel List, from Australia, Englishman Arrun Singh Brar, Guido Migliozzi, from Italy, and David Ravetto from France.
The stroke play qualifying stage sees the competitors play one round each at both Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale. Thereafter the field is cut to 64 players and ties before the match play stage finds the champion over the final four days, Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 August 2015, at Royal Birkdale.
The second round of qualifying stroke play gets underway at 7:00 am on Wednesday, 12 August. Admission and parking is free for spectators at both venues.
For the qualifying stroke play leaderboard please click here.