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Caption: Rowan Lester leads the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship after an opening round 64 - image courtesy of Golffile
Hermitage international Rowan Lester carded five birdies and an eagle on his way to a stunning 64 in the opening round at the North of Ireland.Lester leads by one from a host of players at minus six on a day when the Valley links was taken apart by the field. At the halfway stage of stroke play qualifying, there are 68 players under par with the top 64 progressing to the match play stages.There is a three-man group chasing Lester for the silver medal - Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle), Ronan Mullarney (Galway) and Robert Brazill (Naas). A further eight players are in the group at five under. Defending champion Sean Flanagan is two under after an opening round of 70.On the Dunluce links, Neill Simpson (Kirkistown Castle) was the only player to break 70. Simpson made four birdies and with just one bogey on the card, he joined a 15-man group at minus three.