COLIN FARQUHARSON

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Banchory’s James Byrne returned to the scene of his 2007 Scottish boys stroke-play championship win and picked up the scent of victory again with a six-under-par round of 66 in the first round of the Cardrona Hotel 36-hole Challenge tournament at the Peebles venue.

That put last year’s Northern Open champion level overnight with James McKinnon (Irvine) at the head of a field of 86.

Both leaders shot eight birdies and two bogeys. McKinnon had the better outward half, turning in 31 against Byrne’s 34.

But it was Byrne who eliminated the bogeys after the turn, coming home in 32. McKinnon, back in 35, dropped shots at the 15th and 17th in the middle of three birdies over the last seven holes.

They lead by one shot from Buchanan Castle’s Jason McCreadie.