The earlier starters got the favourable draw at Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club, in Aviemore, with dry conditions early on in the day making way for heavy rain for the late morning and afternoon starters, and Brooks took full advantage after teeing off in the morning.He was later joined by his compatriot Walker, who had to battle some heavy rain before moving to the summit, two shots clear of a chasing pack which included the leading Scotsman Wallace Booth.
For 34 year old Walker, it was a little bit of history repeating, having won this tournament at Murcar Links Golf Club in 2006 on the way to claiming a European Tour card for the following season.The experienced two time Challenge Tour winner admitted that it was tough, however, and was delighted with his round, which came thanks to a run of four consecutive birdies from the 14th hole. It almost became five at the 18th, only to come up short with his birdie putt.
“It was playing very tricky out there but I played extremely well today,” said Walker, whose best European Tour result came courtesy of a fourth place finish at the British Masters in 2007.“There could have been a few more birdies where I hit it close and misread the putts but other than that I finished very well and played very solid.
“There was a chance of a birdie on the last and I left it short but you have to go out there and shoot a score, which I've done. There are chances, especially at the par fives, maybe apart from the one that’s over 600 yards but you just play that in three shots and hit it close and try and make the birdie. I played unbelievably well today though.”Englishman Brooks has been on good form recently, his best result of the season coming courtesy of a runner-up finish at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda two weeks ago, and he began this week with a flourish thanks to a bogey-free round.
He started steadily with three consecutive pars before his round took flight thanks to back to back birdies at the fourth and fifth. Three consecutive birdies from the eighth hole followed before another two gained shots at the 12th and 13th holes moved him to the top.“I started off steadily,” said the man from Essex in East Anglia. “I had a bit of a bad second hole and then chipped in from short of the green for par and that gave me a bit of momentum really. Then I hit a few nice shots and holed a couple of putts and just kept it going all day.
“I made three in a row around the turn but I should have had a few more at the end to be honest. At the 14th I missed one from five feet, at the 16th I missed one from eight feet and at the 17th it must have been two feet. I played really well and putted nicely for most of the day though, so I’m not disappointed with seven under.”
Two shots further back in tied third were England’s Jamie Abbott and Chris Gane, Sandro Piaget of Monaco and Booth, a 25 year old from Comrie in Scotland, who is easing his way back into the professional game after a shoulder injury ruled him out of golf for 18 months.The former Walker Cup player fired six birdies after starting on the 11th hole but finished with a bogey on the tenth to sign for a five under par round of 66 and he is now looking to follow in the footsteps of his sister Carly by winning a professional event on home turf after she won the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open in May.
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