There was a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard after the opening day’s play at the Scottish Par 3 Championship at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre.
Only five players broke par on a day of tough scoring with Scott Young, Kieran Cantley and Ross Kellett leading the way with two-under-par rounds of 52 at the 9-hole course on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Cantley was sitting on three under but dropped a shot on the 185-yard 17th to settle for a share of the lead.
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Paul O’Hara, who won the Northern Open at nearby Portlethen Golf Club last month, is one shot off the lead along with Graeme Robertson heading into the second round of the 36-hole event.
Host Paul Lawrie is among 10 players well-positioned on level par and sitting tied sixth but it was a disappointing day for Aberdeen’s David Law who carded a six-over 60.
Daniel celebrates birthday in style
Elsewhere, Gregor Graham carded a superb eight under par 63 to tie the course record in the first round of the Scottish Boys’ Amateur Championship at Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh.
Graham made nine birdies over his last 15 holes to go into the second qualifying round two shots ahead of Blairgowrie clubmate Cormac Sharpe who fired eight birdies of his own in a six under par 65.
On a day of low scoring, Aboyne’s Daniel Aitkin celebrated his 18th birthday by firing a five under par 66 to claim third place one shot ahead of Bothwell Castle’s Callum Waugh and Ross Laird from Glenbervie and two in front of Alex North from the St Andrew Golf Club.
Aitken, who teed off at 7.40am, said: “The round got off to a bit of a shaky start. I hit one right off the first tee and had to scramble for a par but as soon as I calmed down and got into a bit of a rhythm the birdies started to drop.
“It was too early this morning to think much about my birthday but it’s certainly a nice present to go round in 66 and find myself well up on the leaderboard. That’s something to celebrate tonight.”
On a great day for the Graham household, Gregor’s younger brother Callum returned a two under par 69 to share seventh place with Pyecombe’s Alfie Robinson and Ciaran Patterson from the nearby Royal Burgess Golfing Society.
Nairn’s Calum Scott, Jamie Mann from Close House, Max Shirvell from Brocket Hall and Cameron Johnstone from Kilmarnock (Barassie) and all shot 70 to end the day in a share of tenth place.
A total of 64 players will qualify for the match play after the second round of stroke play.