LANSDONWE, SCOTLAND (May 27, 2011) -- Englishman Andrew Sullivan fired a superb seven-under par 65 to open up a two-shot lead over Leven’s James White on the opening day of the Carrick Neill Scottish Stroke Play Championship at Blairgowrie.
The 24-year-old Walker Cup squad player got off to the perfect start by rolling in a 10-foot putt for eagle at the first hole and further birdies at the second, seventh and eighth propelled the Nuneaton man to five-under par at the turn.
Three more birdies at the 10th, 11th and 16th put Sullivan in sight of Glenn Campbell’s Lansdowne course record of 64, but trouble followed at the penultimate hole when he inadvertently played the wrong ball for his second shot after finding the trees with his drive. The England international incurred a two-shot penalty but recovered to sink a 40-foot putt for an unlikely bogey six, before parring the last for an opening round of 65.
“The ball was lying exactly where I thought I hit my tee shot and it was the same ball and number as I was playing. It was only when I was preparing to play my third shot that I noticed a green dot on the ball, which I didn’t have on my own ball,” said Sullivan, currently placed at 15 in the world amateur rankings.
Scotland Men’s Elite Squad member James White (Leven) opened his campaign with an impressive five-under par 67, which included a run of four consecutive birdies from the fifth hole. He dropped a shot at the ninth, but birdies at the 12th and 15th put the Fifer back on track to lead the home contingent on day one.
“I played steady all the way round and I’m very pleased to get off to a good start. The course is fairly tight which suits my game and I focused on keeping the ball in play, hitting a lot of three irons of the tee,” said White, a recent Business Studies graduate from the University of Stirling.
“It’s nice not to have any exams to worry about this season as this time last year as I was studying. I can now concentrate fully on my golf and I’ve been playing well since coming back from South Africa. The work I did over there is really paying off and my game is really sharp.” he added.
Kirkhill’s Paul Shields, runner-up in the South African Amateur Championship earlier this season, is well placed after a bogey-free round of 69 and he was joined on the same mark by North East golfer Adam Dunton (McDonald), who produced an outstanding run of six consecutive threes from the ninth hole, and 2010 Scottish Boys Champion Grant Forrest, who birdied 15 and 16. South African Rae Mackie, Australian Daniel Nisbet, Jonathan Watt (Brokenhurst Manor) and Ben Loughrey (Wrag Burn) also finished the day three-under par.
The host club’s Glenn Campbell, fresh from his win at last weekend’s Blairgowrie 36-hole open, began his quest for the title with a solid two-under par 70 with the highest ranked player in the field, Australian Matthew Steiger a further shot back on 71. Peterhead’s Philip McLean was also on one-under alongside North East team-mate Kris Nicol, while their Scotland team-mate Ross Kellett shot a level par 72 in a round which included a holed sand wedge from 80 yards for eagle at the eighth.