Aaron Rai leads The Glenfarclas Open by one shot after carding a six-under-par 64 for his opening round in the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour event at Mar Hall Golf & Spa Resort in Glasgow.
Adam Wootton and Craig Hinton, both from Oxfordshire, share second on five-under-par while Paul McKechnie is the leading Scot, sat among the trio of players on four under.
Rai (DCD Group) started his first 18 on the 10th tee of the Earl of Mar Golf Course. A par there was followed by a birdie at 11 and an eagle at the 15th. At 16 he moved four under with a three and further birdies followed at 2 and 3. He avoided the dangers posed by the remaining holes to return to the clubhouse six under par.
All six of the players four under or better started their first round at the 10th. Hinton (LJD Technology Services) was five under at the turn after birdies at 13, 17 and 18 and like Rai he eagled the 15th.
He went further below the card with a birdie at 3, but fell back when he double-bogeyed the 4th. A birdie at 7 saw him return to five under, where he concluded the round.
Wootton (Oxford Golf Centre) ended his first nine with three birdies on the last four holes, a par at 17 sandwiched between birdies at 15, 16 and 18 to see him turn three under. Another birdie came at the 1st before three pars and birdies at 5 and 6. He dropped a shot at 7 but claimed a share of second when he made three down the 8th.
Haydn McCullen (Delamare Forest), Gareth Wright (West Linton Golf Club) and McKechnie (Braid Hills Golf Centre) share fourth on four under, two behind leader Rai. There are 11 golfers a further two back in seventh, including Marcus Armitage, who won at Cumberwell Park last month and Mar Hall representative Graham Forbes.
Neil Fenwick (Dunbar Golf Club), Greb McBain (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) and Lloyd Saltman (Archerfield Links golf Club) are the other Scottish players at two-under-par.
The Glenfarclas Open is a 54-hole strokeplay event with a cut to the leading 50 players plus ties to be made after Thursday’s second round. The final round will be filmed for a two-hour highlights show to be aired on Sky Sports on Tuesday, July 28. Spectator entry is free throughout and live scoring can be found at www.europrotour.com.