Barry Hume cards 61 but Liam Johnston leads at Leven

Haggs Castle's Barry Hume is three off the halfway pace despite opening with a ten-under-par 61 in the Scottish Champion of Champions at Leven Links. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Haggs Castle's Barry Hume is three off the halfway pace despite opening with a ten-under-par 61 in the Scottish Champion of Champions at Leven Links. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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Low scoring marked the start of the domestic season on the opening day of the Scottish Champion of Champions at Leven Links.

Former professional Barry Hume got the new home campaign off to a stunning start by carding a ten-under-par 61 in the first round.

However, he ended the day sitting three shots off the lead after Dumfries & County’s Liam Johnston signed for rounds of 66 and 63.

Sitting on 13-under-par, the 2011 Scottish Boys’ Championship runner-up sits two shots clear of Duff House Royal’s David Morrison (67-64).

Hume is a stroke further back alongside Scottish champion Robert MacIntyre (65-67) from Glencruitten in joint-third.

Johnston gave a glimpse of his good form coming into the new season when he reached the quarter-finals in the Spanish Amateur Championship last month.

Indeed, his run in that event was ended by Romain Langasque, the Frenchman who won the Amateur Championship at Carnoustie and recent runner-up in the Kenya Open on the Challenge Tour.

Due to preferred lies being in operation, Hume’s stunning effort will not stand as a course record.

Returning to the venue where he won the Leven Gold Medal last August, the Haggs Castle player signed for an eagle and eight birdies.

“It’s my lowest score and lowest to par,” he said. I’ve been playing that way in practice, so it was nice to piece it together in competition mode.

“I had a real shot at a 59, which is always a thrill, but narrowly missed out. I’ll get it another day...”

The 2001 Scottish Amateur champion was out in 29, having followed a hat-trick of birdies at the start of his round by also picking up shots at the sixth and ninth.

He then followed two more birdies at the 11th and 12th with an eagle-3 at the 13th before moving to 10-under with a birdie-2 at the 15th.

“Before I putted on 13, I was seven-under so I knew eagle there was opening up a chance of a 59,” he added. “I made the putt from 18-20 feet.

“I then hit it to 12-15 feet on next hole for birdie but missed then birdied 15 from 15 feet, at which point I knew 16 would be pivotal in a 59.

“I hit it to 15 feet again but missed. I still knew I could birdie 17 and 18 but my 25 feet putt on 17 was just too hard and lipped on high side.

“I then missed from 15 feet on 18 for 60 and that theme of missed putts continued all afternoon (when he signed for a 72).

“I’m not going to consider a 61 a failure like some people are!”

Also in contention at halfway is Moray’s Kyle Godsman, last year’s Scottish Order of Merit winner and Jeff Wright from Forres.

Wright sits fourth on 134 (66-68), a shot ahead of Godsman after rounds of 69 and 66.

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