Richie Ramsay and Russell Knox both took route 66 to figure prominently on the leaderboard on a day when compatriot Bradley Neil overcame hitting a young spectator to also get off to a promising start in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
Ramsay birdied the last for his four-under-par opening salvo, which came two days after he’d enjoyed being among six players to take part in the Hero Challenge at Edinburgh Castle.
“I was more nervous at Edinburgh Castle than I was on the first tee today,” he admitted. “I thought it was a brilliant idea. Us bringing golf to the city was terrific and you won’t get a better backdrop in Scotland for an event like that. I’m all in favour of stuff like that and when they asked me if I wanted to do it, I jumped at the opportunity.”
Knox, the newly-crowned Irish Open champion, made his score with three birdies in the first six holes. “Not bad,” he said. “I would have taken that and ran at the start of the day as my energy levels are dreadful. It’s taxing, this stupid game. But I would rather be tired and playing well than tired and playing crap.”
Neil opened with a two-under 68 along with Jamie McLeary and Marc Warren. Under the circumstances, that was a good effort from the Blairgowrie man. “I hit a kid on the tenth,” he reported. “I hit him on the shoulder and he was lying down when I got up there and that was quite dramatic. That is upsetting as it’s never nice to see that. But, once I dealt with that, I grafted through the next couple of holes.”
David Drysdale has a 69, one better than Duncan Stewart and Stephen Gallacher, while Scottish Open debutant Connor Syme and Scott Jamieson had 71s. Martin Laird and Connor O’Neil, meanwhile, had to settle for 72s.