Greig Hutcheon, the Scottish champion, made a promising start in his bid to secure two European Tour outings next season through the PGA Play-Offs in Turkey.
The 45-year-old carded a three-under-par 68 on the PGA Sultan Course at Antalya to sit joint second, a shot behind David Dixon, the Englishman who won the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Par 3 Championship at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre in Aberdeen this year.
Two-time European Tour winner Alastair Forsyth also has Dixon in his sights after an opening 69 left him in a share of fifth position, while Paul O’Hara and Graham Fox, two other Scots in a 24-strong field, had matching 71s to sit joint tenth.
The top two in the 54-hole event will qualify for the British Masters at Hillside in May while the first four get into the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next September.
In addition, the top three automatically qualify for next year’s PGA Cup in Texas, where Great Britain and Ireland will be bidding for an historic hat-trick of victories.
Hutcheon, who played on last year’s winning team at Foxhills in Surrey along with compatriot Chris Currie, carded four birdies in opening effort as he took up where he’d left off when landing the Scottish PGA Championship for a third time at Gleneagles last month.
Forsyth was three-under after 11 holes before dropping shots at the 12th and 15th but then got one back at the par-5 16th. O’Hara signed for three birdies and three bogeys while Fox had four birdies and four bogeys on his card.
Elsewhere, Scotland’s hopes of victory in the PGAs of Europe Team Championship look slim after two tough days for a tartan trio comprising of Currie, Gareth Wright and Ian Graham at Costa Navarino in Greece.
Currie fared best of the trio in the second round with a 73 but, with Wright and Graham having to settle for scores of 76 and 77 respectively, Scotland sit 14 shots behind the leaders, Belgium, on 11 over par.