Gullane - Low-scoring was the order of the day as the Scottish Open got
underway at Gullane on Thursday with the focus being firmly on preparing for
next week's Open Championship at St Andrews.
Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen claimed the early clubhouse lead with a
seven-under 63 on the composite links course in East Lothian, hosting the
tournament for the first time.
In with 65s were American world number 12 Jimmy Walker, Adrian Otaegui of
Spain and Matthew Nixon of England
Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler, two other members of a strong US contingent
fine-tuning their links play ahead of St Andrews, both signed for 66's, the
same as former US Open champion Graeme McDowell.
Scotland's Russell Knox, a last-minute callup for the injured world number
one Rory McIlroy had a 67.
McDowell's opening 66 included a superb 30 on the front nine and came as a
welcome return to form for the Northern Irishman who has struggled for form all
He missed the cut last week at the French Open, a tournament he had won in
the two previous years, and he pledged after that to get the clutter out of his
mind and get back to the basics.
His round could have been even better but for bogeys on the final two holes.
If low scores were out there to be had, that was not the case for former
Open champion David Duval.
The veteran American suffered a nightmare start, taking a quadruple-bogey
eight on the 390-yard opening hole.
Defending champion Justin Rose, the top-ranked player in the tournament
following the withdrawal of McIlroy, had an early afternoon tee-time playing
alongside 2013 winner Phil Mickelson and in-form Scot Marc Warren.