It was the local lad that came through the field at a windy Nairn to sit atop of the Amateur Championship leaderboard on Monday.
Calum Scott used his early tee-time advantage to card a bogey-free round and record a four-under-par 67 – a score he believes might just be his best on his home track.
“That’s probably my best score to be fair, off the blacks anyway. I haven’t really played off the blacks very much. Off the whites I’ve shot 66 so off the blacks 67 is my best.”
Scott showed his experience on the links with a perfect display of par golf through the first six holes. He chose the par-5 7th hole to notch his first birdie and struck again at the 10th and 15th.
Standing on the tee of the par-5 18th, Scott was in command of the field on three-under-par before smashing his drive to within 150ft of the pin, setting up an opportunity for eagle. But his approach went long and for a moment the locals watching on held their breath as the ball trickled over the back towards the boundary.
It rested just off though the green though, and Scott needed only two more strokes for a final birdie of the day and open up a three-shot-lead on the field.
“We were pretty lucking in the morning. The first few holes were windy, but they weren’t playing too windy like just now. It’s blowing a gale,” said Scott talking after his round.
“I managed to get through the first seven holes in one-under, which is really good into that breeze. It was all downwind from there and a lot easier. A few birdies came in, which was good.”
Home support key
The 17-year-old has the hopes of the home support firmly on his shoulders after his older brother Sandy – the championship favourite – was forced to withdraw late on Sunday, failing to recover from the wrist injury which saw him also miss the Walker Cup in May.
But Scott is happy to absorb the pressure – even if he did experience an unexpected wave of nerves on the first tee.
“It was weird. I was very nervous on the first tee with everyone clapping and stuff. I was happy to see so many people.
“I’m just focusing on my next round, my next tee shot. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because anything can happen with that wind. Especially tomorrow as it will be a wee bit breezy. I’m out a midday and I expect the wind to pick up.”
Difficult Highland conditions
As the wind picked up in the afternoon, no one was able to catch Scott who now heads into Tuesday with the chance to top strokeplay qualifying.
Walker Cup star Jack Dyer birdied 17 and 18 to card the next best round of the day, a brilliant three-under-par 68, to put himself into second place.
England’s Frank Kennedy impressed in his debut to card a one-under-par 70 and sits three behind Scott along with Irish duo Luke O’Neil and Max Kennedy.
The 15-year-old, who now resides in Jupiter, Florida, made the most of the opportunity after getting into the championship off the reserve list. Bouncing back from early back-to-back bogeys on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes, Kennedy, showing experience beyond his years, kept calm in difficult conditions knowing he would be able to make his mark on the back nine.
“I just knew the first seven holes were playing hard into that wind. I didn’t really hit that bad of a shot on any of the bogeys really. They were playing hard with the wind. Downwind you’ve got 9-irons into par 5s – so it was playing a little easier.
“It’s a great opportunity. I want to get to the match play and then see how far I get.”