Two-time champion Tyrrell Hatton staked his claim for a record third title after an explosive 64 at Carnoustie in the first round of the 20th Anniversary Alfred Dunhill Links.
He shares the lead with Spain’s Adri Arnaus, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and China’s Haotong Li.
Scotland’s young hope Ewen Ferguson was one shot further back after a 65, along with France’s Romain Langasque and 2011 winner Michael Hoey, while double runner-up and current Team Champion Tommy Fleetwood was among those on 66.
On a day of exuberant low scoring, the golfers showed how delighted they were to be back in action at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns after missing out last year.
Having played at the more difficult Carnoustie, Hatton is hoping to make further strides towards a record third Championship at Kingsbarns in the second round. And he will be doing it alongside his proud dad Jeff who encouraged him to play the game and is his coach.
Hatton, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links in 2016 and 2017, said: “It was good. I didn’t make a bogey. It’s always nice to start pretty good around Carnoustie. You go to the other ones and feel you’ve got more of a chance, so we'll see what the week brings.”
The highlight of Hatton’s round was a stunning back-nine 29. Tyrrell said: “I didn't actually realise it until I signed my card. We needed a big back nine and I was very happy with the putter. Hopefully that continues.”
Hatton says he isn’t currently getting any coaching from Jeff. “He hasn't looked at my swing or anything. I think he's a bit too excited to play these courses for the first time. I imagine he's probably quite tired. He normally plays once every six weeks. But I think he enjoyed it and we'll have a good day at Kingsbarns.”
The two Hattons lie in joint third place on 11-under-par in the Team Championship with a betterball score of 61, a shot behind leaders Ewen Ferguson & Bradley Simpson, and Danny Willett & Jimmy Dunne.
Jeff said: “I’ve never played golf anywhere in Scotland before, so getting Carnoustie first up was a whole different experience. I’ve never seen any course like it – all you can see is bunkers!”