Darren Clarke surged up the leaderboard to create a six way tie for the lead in the 3 Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club.
Clarke, who will be one of Europe’s vice-captains at The Ryder Cup, birdied the third, seventh, ninth and 11th to move to the summit of the leaderboard.
Without a top 20 finish since he returned in March from yet more knee surgery, Paul McGinley, another one of Europe’s vice captains for The Ryder Cup, is also top after producing a consistent opening 14 holes.
He eagled the 513 yard seventh and was already five under at that point, but he dropped his first shot on the 393-yard ninth.
The duo are tied for the lead with Richard Green, Paul Lawrie, Ariel Canete and Patrik Sjöland.
Francesco Molinari is one shot off the lead after he dropped his first shot of the round on the 13th after birdying the seventh, ninth, 11th and 12th.
Sjöland was the fastest off the blocks in the early stages, hitting an eagle on the seventh to combine with three birdies, which had helped him to an outward five under 30 before he double bogeyed the short 10th.
Rory McIlroy, back in action two weeks after finishing third in The Open at St Andrews, started well but bogeys on eight, ninth, 11th and 13th have seen him drop to two under par.