Jack South goes low again at Leven as Greg Dalziel leads home contingent
Englishman Jack South maintained his love affair with Leven Links as Greg Dalziel and in-form Michael Stewart led a promising start by the home contingent in the Eagle Orchid Scottish Masters.
Returning to the venue where he closed with a 59 to not only land the Motocaddy Masters on the PGA EuroPro Tour 12 months ago but also a £59,000 bonus, South set the pace with a nine-under-par 61.
Taking up where he’d left off in the 2021 edition, he started with three birdies after teeing off at the tenth and was out in four-under before picking up an eagle and three birdies in covering his inward journey in 29.
The afternoon’s work earned South, who has recorded two top-five finishes in his last four events on the third-tier circuit. a three-shot lead over four of his compatriots, Brandon Robinson Thompson, Curtis Knipes, Mark Young and Nick Watson, as well as Airdrie-attached Dalziel.
Dalziel’s card was blotted by a double-bogey 6 at the fourth, but an eight-birdie haul left him sitting handily-placed on home soil.
“My putting was brilliant - I holed pretty much everything I looked at,” he said of a start that boosted his hopes of making the season-ending Tour Championship at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.
Stewart, who lost in a play-off in the first leg of a Scottish double-header at Spey Valley in Aviemore last week, came home in 32 as he opened with a 65, one better than earlier efforts from Conor O’Neil and Jeff Wright.
“I had been playing terribly all year until last week, when I drove the ball good, as I did today,” said O’Neil, a winner last year but sitting outside the top 100 on the money-list this time around.
“I’d been losing three or four balls in a round for six events in a row and you just can’t do that, so I’m glad to shake that off.
“Today I just played pretty solid, hitting most greens and all my birdie putts were kick-ins almost. Just had one daft bogey when I missed a tiny putt on the 15th.”
Wright has finished runner-up twice this season but, after an opening effort that contained five birdies, the Forres man admitted: “The rest of it has been pretty rubbish!”
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