Two former winners, Chris Kelly and Alastair Forsyth, led some low scoring in the opening round of the Northern Open at Newmachar, writes Martin Dempster.
In-form Forsyth, who recently shot a 10-under-par 61 in a pro-am at Bishopbriggs, posted the clubhouse target with a seven-under-par 65 that contained eight birdies.
However, the 1999 champion was knocked off the top spot as Kelly, who claimed the title four years ago, came in with a 64.
His card was illuminated by an eagle at the eighth, while the Scotland for Golf-attached player also made birdies at the third, fifth, ninth, 14th, 16th and 17th.
“I’ve not been playing at all, so I’ve no idea where that came from,” admitted Kelly afterwards. “You don’t often shoot 64, even when you’re playing a lot.
“I started steadily with birdies at three and five, then holed from 25ft at eight for eagle, and birdied nine, all of a sudden I’m five-under at the turn.”
Forsyth won a 36-holer on the Tartan Tour at the Aberdeenshire venue last season and the two-time European Tour winner admitted: “The course fits my eye, and it’s one which gives you options.
“I only hit driver four times today, normally I would hit quite a lot, but I hit lots of iron-shots as it’s all about positioning yourself.
“I played solid stuff, there was nothing exciting about it. I never hit any bad shots and was always there or thereabouts - that’s what this game’s all about.”
Greig Hutcheon (Torphins) and Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) shared third spot with 67s on a day when newly-crowned WPGA champion Heather MacRae had to settle for an 81, dropping five shots in the last four holes.
In the amateur ranks, defending champion Elaine Moffat carded a level-par 74 to lead by a shot after the opening round of the Scottish Senior Women’s Open.
“It was mostly a good round with a few wee blemishes,” said Moffat, who sits ahead of Stirling’s Alison Davidson and Sandra Jackson (Royal Dornoch) after their matching 75s.
l This week’s GolfSixes on the European Tour will be accessible on the BBC’s digital channels for the first time. The event at Cascais in Portugal will be shown on the BBC Sport website and app, BBC iPlayer on desktop, BBC’s iPlayer app and the connected red button BBC channel.