Connor McKinney and Chris Robb set the pace at St Andrews Classic

Pair lead by two shots in Tartan Pro Tour event

Former Scottish Amateur champion Chris Robb has a share of the lead. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Former Scottish Amateur champion Chris Robb has a share of the lead. Picture: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Australian-based Scot Connor McKinney teed up a chance to become the first amateur to win on the new Tartan Pro Tour by producing a strong start in the St Andrews Classic.

McKinney, who made his senior Scotland debut in last year’s Home Internationals, carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 on the Jubilee Course to set the pace in the fifth event on the circuit along with Chris Robb.

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Maintaining the form that saw him share top spot at Duddingston on the Get Back to Golf Tour, world No 155 McKinney birdied the second, third, fifth, sixth, tenth, 11th and 12th.

That effort was matched by former Scottish Amateur champion Robb, who lost to Sam Locke in the inaugural event on the circuit at Carnoustie, as he birdied six of the opening seven holes to storm to the turn in 30.

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The pair lead by two shots from tour founder Paul Lawrie and Jamie McLeary, who share third spot on 67, with a group on 68 including Craig Lee, Ryan Campbell and Jack Doherty.

Order of Merit leader John Henry opened with a 69 to sit ahead of his closest challengers in the battle for a Scottish Open spot, Locke (75) and Neil Fenwick (70).

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Meanwhile, North Berwick’s Scott Gillies recovered from a shaky start to the second round to storm to victory in the Scottish Young Pros Championship at Haddington.

Gillies, who trailed overnight leader Scott Young, who is also attached to North Berwick, after an opening 69, opened with a double-bogey 6 but claimed the title by four shots by adding a 67.

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Young finished in a share of second with Euan Ferguson (University of Highlands & Islands) and Michael Bacigalupo (Glen).

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