TWO Scots - Bill Longmuir and David Law - are heading into the weekend sitting at the top of leaderboards but Scott Jamieson is now playing catch up.
Longmuir earned a share of the first-round lead in the Travis Perkins Masters as Colin Montgomerie’s hat-trick bid at Woburn faltered following a promising start.
It looked ominous when Montgomerie surged to the top of the leaderboard by covering the first five holes in three-under and still had his nose in front after turning in 32.
However, his momentum was halted by a bogey at the tenth, which he then followed by another dropped shot at the 13th and a double-bogey 7 at the long 14th, where he had to take a penalty drop after driving into a bush.
The three-times Senior major winner finished with four straight pars for a one-over 73 to sit joint-28th - four shots behind both Longmuir and American Tim Thelen.
Longmuir, an eight-times winner on the European Senior Tour, was in contention heading into the final round of the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open last weekend before finishing in joint-eighth at Archerfield Links.
Having decided to forego the last two editions of the Travis Perkins to undertake a commitment in France, the 62-year-old was delighted to be back at Woburn, a course he loves deadly.
“I had to come back this year. It’s a joy to play here and I played really well today,” he said. “You have to drive the ball well, and I did that apart from the final hole when I favoured the right side too much and went into the trees and had to hack out.”
The resulting 5 meant that Longmuir was unable to become the only play in the field not to register a bogey as the Duke’s Course played hard to get.
At the end of a challenging first day, only 11 players were under par. They included Paisley’s Ross Drummond, who is tied for third on two-under along with Roger Chapman, Lianwei Zhang and Pedro Linhart.
Meanwhile, Law is out in front heading into the final two rounds of the Cordon Golf Open on the Challenge Tour.
The Aberdonian finished off his opening round in the vandal-hit event by carding a six-under-par 64 then added a 69 at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André to sit on seven-under-par at the halfway stage.
He’s two shots clear of three players, including Frenchman Alexandre Widemann, with Law’s compatriot, Jack Doherty, in a group on four-under after rounds of 66 and 70.
“I’m feeling good,” said Law, a two-times Scottish Amateur champion. “I really like this course and it suits my game well. It’s in great condition, too.
“It’s not the longest course we play but it’s tricky and bad shots get punished. I’m playing well though and really looking forward to the weekend.”
On the European Tour, overnight joint-leader Jamieson slipped to a share of seventh alongside compatriot Craig Lee as Welshman Bradley Dredge surged into the halfway lead in the M2M Russian Open on the outskirts of Moscow.
Flawless on day one as he carded a six-under 66 at Skolkovo Golf Club, Jamieson stumbled to a double-bogey and two bogeys on his second circuit but also mixed in four birdies to salvage a 71 for a six-under-par total.
Four behind Dredge after he signed for a second successive 66, Lee is also on that mark after a 69 that saw him birdie the tenth, 17th and 18th to come home in 33.
Dredge, who was on the Challenge Tour 15 months ago before regaining his full playing privileges on the main circuit, was thrilled with his putting as he opened up a one-shot lead over Englishman Lee Slattery (67).
David Drysdale, who had six birdies in a 69, is tied for 11th on five-under, one ahead of Chris Doak, whose only dropped shot of the day came at the ninth, his last, in a 67.
Elsewhere, Kris Nicol saw his hopes of a first victory on the third-tier PGA EuroPro Tour disappear as he closed with a 71 in the HotelPlanner.com Championship at Princes in Kent.
The Paul Lawrie Golf Centre player finished joint-seventh on nine-under - three shots behind Englishman Haydn McCullen, who won a four-man play-off to claim his breakthrough victory.
Six Scots - Neil Fenwick, Paul Shields, Ross Cameron, Michael Stewart, Jordan McColl and Lloyd Saltman - have qualified for the Tour Championship in Spain next month through finishing the regular season in the top 60 on the money list.
On the Ladies European Tour, Kylie Walker slipped from third overnight to 22nd following a second-round 74 in the Helsingborg Open in Sweden, where Dane Nicole Broch Larsen cemented her lead.