Northern Open: Henderson notches 62 on first day

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SEVENTEEN years after he won the title at Cruden Bay, Scott Henderson is back in the Northern Open picture.

The 43-year-old Kings Links, Aberdeen tour pro led a charge of sub-par scorers – 21 in all – on the opening day of the three-day, 72-hole Tartan Tour major at Meldrum House Golf Club, Oldmeldrum.

Late on a day which turned from warm and sunny, calm conditions to a very wet afternoon, Henderson posted an eight-under-par 62 to dislodge David Law, the 2011 winner as an amateur, from the lead he had held with a 63. He birdied the long fifth with two putts and holed a four-foot birdie putt – his first single putt of the round – at the eighth.

Henderson reached the turn in 33 of which 17 had been putts.

“Today I seemed to see the lines better and some of the long putts went in. Yes, 62 is my lowest score here,” he said.

Until Scott’s after 5pm round, the clubhouse leader was David Law (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) who won the event as an amateur over the same course in 2011. David shot a seven-under-par 63 today. Next best in the birdie-shooting parade was Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) with a 64, followed closely by Robert Arnott (Bishopbriggs) on 65, leading amateur Jamie Savage (Cawder) and David Patrick (Kingsfield) on 66.

David Law birdied the last three holes and almost aced the 178-yard 18th with a seven-iron tee shot which left him with a six-inch tap-in putt for a 2. That completed an excellent collection of eight birdies and on bogey in halves of 34 (one under par) and 29 (five under).

“I know the Meldrum House course well from my amateur days when I used to come out here to see my coach Neil Marr,” said David, 22. “I like the course, I feel comfortable on it and it shows in my scores. I had a 62 the year I won the title but that was from preferred lies. I’ve got a good record in this tournament because the course just suits my eye.”

He had birdies at the second and long fifth before dropping a shot at the eighth where he had three putts from 30ft. David missed a 6ft putt for an eagle 3 at the long 11th but it was the first of his six birdies on a brilliant inward half. He holed from 15ft at the 12th – the longest putt he holed all day – and birdied the 13th before his hat-trick of birdies over the last three holes.

Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) came in with a 64 before the heavy rain, which came on before lunchtime, reappeared in the late afternoon. Fox had bogey-free halves of 31 and 33 with birdieds at the first, fourth, eighth, ninth, 12th and 16th.

“I think 64 is the best I’ve ever managed her at Meldrum House. I played pretty steadily for it,” said the West Kilbride-based 36-year-old.