Niall Kearney heads the Irish challenge after the opening round at the Cazoo Classic with the Dubliner seven shots off the lead held by England's Paul Waring.

Kearney's two under 70 leaves him tied for 31st, while Gavin Moynihan and Jonathan Caldwell are a shot further back at Southport's Hillside Golf Club course in England's north west.

Cormac Sharvin, David Higgins and Simon Thornton carded level-par rounds, with Paul Dunne completing the Irish contingent with an eight-over 80, leaving him with a battle to try and make the cut on Friday.


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But it's Birkenhead's Waring who set the tone after he shot a brilliant course record-equalling nine-under 63 to seize the lead.

The 37-year-old comfortably carded his best round of a year which has seen him miss the cut in five of 11 DP World Tour tournaments.

There was a strong finish from a number of the late starters, chasing the clubhouse lead of six under set by Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Scotland's Grant Forrest and Swede Jens Dantorp.

However, none was better than that of Waring, who is attached to Bromborough Golf Club on the Wirral just 30 miles away from the course, as he covered the back nine in 30 having turned at three under.

He finished eagle-birdie, holing out from a greenside bunker at the par-five 17th.

It was good enough to give him a two-shot lead ahead of fellow Englishman Garrick Porteous who signed for seven under.

Additional reporting: PA