Playing in his first DP World Tour event since 2017, the Aberdonian was level-par playing the 18th on the Brabazon Course at the Sutton Coldfield venue and safely found the fairway with a “nice drive”.
Relaying what happened thereafter as he found water on the left with his second and ended up walking off with a double-bogey 6 for a 74, there was no hiding Hutcheon’s frustration and he laid the blame squarely on himself.
“I had 233 yards and I should have chosen a bottom grip on a 5-wood at my age,” admitted the three-time Scottish PGA champion after signing for the same score as Bob MacIntyre, as well as Connor Syme and Craig Howie in the morning wave.
“But it was a big 3-iron, bad swing, forced it and it was a shocker. Splash. Hey ho, try again tomorrow.”
As Hutcheon was talking, long-time friend David Drysdale, who’d been playing a few games in front as he opened with a 75, appeared at his side.
“You know what I did?” said Hutcheon, telling the same story to him. “I hit 3-iron from 233, that’s bottom grip on a 5-wood isn’t it?”.
Smiling, Drysdale, who is two years younger than his compatriot, replied: “I hit 3-wood in there! 250-on I was, even more. Made 4. That’s like a birdie for me on that hole.”
Despite the sore finish, it was a praiseworthy effort from Hutcheon, who secured his spot in the event through winning The PGA Play-Offs at Slieve Russell in Ireland last Friday.
He marked his return to the main tour, where he’s now played across four decades, having made his debut in 1998, by rolling in a 29-footer for birdie at the first.
“Considering I’ve not played in this environment for four years, I think it is, maybe more, I played alright,” said the Torphins Golf Club professional. “Managed my game pretty well, putted nicely and holed out quite well.”
That finish was clearly hurting, though. “I should know my age,” he said, harping back to it. “You tell yourself you won’t make that mistake tomorrow. But when you play golf you almost start lying to yourself, don’t you?
“Try again tomorrow, do better, 70-69 will make the cut, I think. Got to try and do that.”
This is the first of seven starts three-time Challenge Tour winner Hutcheon has secured this season on the top tour, having played most of golf in recent years on the Tartan Tour and the Tartan Pro Tour.
“Try to make a few cuits to pay for it all, that’s the first agenda,” he said of what he is aiming to achieve from the welcome opportunities. “And definitely enjoy it.”
At the same time, he also has one eye on chances that might come when he turns 50. “I’ve got to try and get my game sharp and try to get on to one of the Senior Tours later this year,” he added.