Back in his native Ayrshire, Graham Fox set the clubhouse target with a four-under-par 68, an effort that was later matched by both his Clydeway Golf colleague, Paul O’Hara, and Caldwell pro Christopher Currie.
On a day when 16 players broke par, Fox and O’Hara both signed for seven birdies while Currie, who shook off his winter rust by competing in this season’s EuroPro Tour Qualifying School, posted an eagle and three birdies. The trio hold a one-shot advantage in the 54-hole contest over two players at the opposite ends of their Tartan Tour careers. Bathgate’s Louis Gaughan, who was mentored as an amateur by Stephen Gallacher’s old caddie, Eric Mackay, is a trainee still cutting his teeth on the Scottish circuit.
Robert Arnott, on the other hand, is one its most experienced campaigners and the Bishopbriggs Golf Range-attached player will soon make his debut on the European Senior Tour after coming through the Qualifying School earlier this year.
Five players are another shot back, including title favourite Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre). Alongside him are David Orr (Mearns Castle), Fraser Mann (Carnoustie) and Alistair Brown (Archerfield Links). Former European Tour Order of Merit winner Ronan Rafferty opened with a level-par 72, as did Challenge Tour card holder Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills Golf Range).