Dutchman Rolf Muntz shot a flawless six under par 66 to open a one shot lead in the Scottish PGA Championship on the the Monarch’s course at the Gleneagles Hotel.
Muntz last played at Gleneagles in the 1991 Scottish Open when he finished leading amateur with a top 25 finish. Eight years later, with the field of the re-vamped Scottish PGA Championship split between European Tour players and Tartan Tour players for the first time, Muntz produced a magnificent round with six birdies and no bogeys to lead Swede Paul Nilbrink by one.
“Six birdies, no bogeys – nice isn’t it,” said Muntz. “It’s a magnificent course, typical Jack Nicklaus design. I had a very good week in the TNT Dutch Open last month but apart from that I have been playing well without scoring. Today I just tried to hit the fairways and roll the putts in and it worked.”
Muntz, whose best finish this season was joint eighth in Holland, leads Nilbrink by one stroke. The Swede, winner of the Volvo Finnish Open on the Challenge Tour last month, is in Scotland for the very first time, an experience he is relishing. He fired five birdies without a dropped shot on his way to a 67.
“I like the course and at Gleneagles it is breathtaking,” said the 28-year-old playing only his third European Tour event. “My driving was very good which definitely helps on this course.”
A further stroke adrift is a bunch of players that includes the Scots Andrew Oldcorn and the Tartan Tour’s Russell Weir. Four birdies in his last six holes put Oldcorn right up among the leaders while Weir, 18 months away from being eligible for the Seniors Tour, had only the one dropped shot in his round.
Twice a runner-up in the Scottish PGA Championship, Weir last played on the Monarch’s course three years ago in the halved PGA Cup Matches against the Americans.
Also on 68 is teenager Justin Rose after seven birdies and three bogeys, Gary Evans, Andrew Clapp and Klas Eriksson.
Meanwhile Sam Torrance’s chances of a sixth Scottish PGA title suffered a setback when he was stung by a wasp on his right hand as he warmed up on the range. “My mother is always right,” he said. “She said you need to put vinegar on that and when the doctor appeared sure enough he gave me vinegar to put on it. I put it on for the first four holes and then started to stink. I was wanting my chips.”
Torrance finished with a three over 75. “It’s been one of those years,” he added. “I can’t wait for the year 2000. I’ve got the Millennium bug six months early.”