Broomieknowe’s Hannah Darling recovered from dropping a shot at the first hole to be up among the leaders after the opening round of the centenary Girls’ Amateur Championship at Panmure.
The two-time Scottish Girls’ champion repaired that early damage at the next hole before going on to also birdie the ninth and 14th as she opened with a two-under-par 69 at the testing Angus venue.
Darling is hoping to use the event to secure a spot in Europe’s Junior Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles, and she sits fourth on a day when only five players finished below par.
Carding two eagles and five birdies, French player Lucie Malchirand set the pace in the battle for 64 spots in the match-play phase with a stunning 64, two better than Italian Alessia Nobilo.
Slovenian Pia Babnik, runaway winner of the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship at Troon earlier in the year, is lying third after a 67 that contained an eagle and four birdies.
In the Boys’ Amateur Championship at Saunton, Scottish duo Connor McKinney (Joondalup) and Cameron Adam (Royal Burgess) both made promising starts as respective rounds of 66 and 68 left them sitting in the top 10 after the opening circuit.
The pace there was also set by a French player, Tom Gueant opening with an eight-under 63 to sit a shot ahead of Germany’s Maximillian Wojciechowski.
Elsewhere, another rising Scottish star, Grace Crawford, claimed the biggest win of her career so far when beating an international field to land the Scottish Girls’ Under-14 Open Championship at Elgin.
The Gullane youngster had started the second round four shots off the pace after an opening 77, but, helped by racing to the turn in three-under, she found herself two shots ahead with three holes to play.
In a dramatic turnaround, Tenby’s Kasumi Tran then led heading to the last after she birdied both the 16th and 17th while Crawford bogeyed the first of those holes, but the Scot showed she is made of stern stuff. She made a birdie at the par-5 18th for a 148 then, after the pair headed back down the first after, clinched victory in style with a brilliant eagle.
The girls’ under-16 event at the same venue was won by Portugal’s Sofia Sa Barroso while England’s Hugh Adams could be a name to watch out for on the strength of his eight-shot victory in the Scottish Boys’ Under-14 Open at Newmachar, where he opened with a 10-under 62.