Calum Scott was thrilled to get off to the perfect start at the Amateur Championship on his home course of Nairn today.
The fast-rising star got the entire R&A Championship off and running in sunny yet breezy weather at 7am, which was a dream come true.
Four birdies, three of which came on par fives, came on the back of a steady start of pars to take the 17-year-old into the clubhouse by lunchtime leading the way with a strong score of 67.
Dyer draws to within one shot of Scott
As play drew to a close, he had a one-shot advantage over Jack Dyer from Boyce Hill in Essex. The Englishman recovered from a double bogey at the first to go on and post six birdies to haul himself firmly into second spot.
Scott had enjoyed a three-point advantage for most of the day as those following him could not get close and the wind continued to test them.
It was the ideal way for Scott to begin and came the morning after his brother Sandy, 22, had to withdraw due to the wrist injury which kept the seventh ranked amateur in the world out of recent Walker Cup action.
If the limelight has now shifted expectation to Scott junior, he certainly isn’t showing it affecting him in the early stages.
— The R&A (@RandA) June 14, 2021
He said: “I just got off to a really strong start in that wind and made a few birdies towards the end, which was really nice.
“In those last few holes, the gusts of wind were brutal. Some of the balls were just rolling on the green on their own.
“It was tough, but I got away with it on some holes and took advantage of the birdies that I could make, especially par fives, so I’m really happy.
“It’s all about getting into the match play, so this opening round score will relax me. You are always nervous about making the cut, so this was the perfect start.
“This is probably the biggest amateur event for any golfer, so to have this here at my home club is amazing. To hit the first tee shot and play so well in the first round, I could not ask for much more.”
‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for Scott ahead of Texas move
To get the 126th Amateur Championship started on home turf was a dream come true for Scott and he ensured that the big billing was matched by some sparkling play.
He said of starting the entire competition: “It was so surreal – I couldn’t believe it. I had so many people out there supporting me as well. I couldn’t believe it.
“You have got to enjoy it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I’ll aim to enjoy tomorrow and right through to the later stages.”
Soon, the younger Scott will follow his brother in combining studying with golf in the United States.
He explained: “I am going to Texas Tech in August. My brother is there, so I will be over when he’s there. They are all really nice there, so I cannot wait to get over.”
Scott is eager to be consistent on day two and ensure that he is involved at the business end of the competition.
If that was to pan out, he said: “It would be awesome. Just for the club as well. It would be a little bit of history for the club and also for the support.”
Backing his brother to return from injury set-back
Sandy having to pull out of the competition in which he would have been firmly in the running was a blow for all north watchers.
The early pace-setter admitted: “It was a real shame that he had to withdraw. He was gutted, but this championship came just too soon with his wrist injury. He’ll be back.”
Going into day two, Scott’s gameplan is simple.
He said: “Avoid the trouble. Chip and putt. I did that well today.”
Speaking just after his round, but before Scotland’s Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic, Scott was preparing to watch Steve Clarke’s men aim to start their own campaign in stirring fashion.
Scott admitted: “I was so lucky getting the 7am tee-time – can’t wait to watch it.”
The 2-0 defeat, however, brought everyone crashing back down to earth.
Massive prizes on offer for this week’s victor in Nairn
The winner of the Amateur Championship, as well as landing a place at a European Tour event, will be given full exemptions to The Open Championship and the US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters.
— The Nairn Golf Club (@NairnGolfClub) June 14, 2021
Last year’s Amateur winner Joe Long from England is not in Nairn as he is preparing for the US Open, but the runner-up Joe Harvey, also from England, is here in the Highlands.
The 64 lowest scorers over the opening two rounds by Tuesday night progress to the matchplay stages.
The current Amateur Championship leaderboard can be viewed here.
Scott starts at 11.34am on Tuesday, with his club-mate Fraser Fotheringham, whose three birdies in the last four holes lifted his spirits after an overall score of 11 over par, teeing off at 3.08pm.
Tuesday’s full tee-off times are here.