Scotland’s Sam Torrance, a late replacement for toothache victim Colin Montgomerie, prevented the home nation from reliving one of their least memorable moments in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St.Andrews.
It was in 1993 that the Scots lost 2-1 to Paraguay on the opening day of the tournament – a defeat which cost them the chance of progressing to the latter stages.
This time another problem loomed for Scotland as Gary Orr lost to Carlos Franco, who subsequently went on to prove himself an extremely able performer and has won twice on the US Tour this season. Franco shot a superb seven under par 65 to Orr’s 72.
However Torrance, who lost to Franco six years ago, was summoned from his Surrey home late on Friday night after Montgomerie withdrew after five holes of the Pro-Am suffering from acute toothache.
And the 46 year old, an Alfred Dunhill Cup winner in 1995, came from one behind with five holes to play to beat Raul Fretes and helped the No.4 seeded Scots to a narrow 2-1 victory.
Paul Lawrie, the Open champion making his debut in the event, got the better of Franco's older brother Angel, by 71 to 73, for a 2-1 win to the Scots.
In the other Group Two clash, No.5 seeds Australia were thanking their lucky stars after beating Japan 2-1.
Little Craig Parry came to the 18th hole trailing Tsuyoshi Yoneyama by one, but sank a 58-yard pitch-and-run through the Valley of Sin for an eagle two and a one-stroke win, 69 to 70.
Veteran Isao Aoki levelled the match by defeating Peter O'Malley 72-74, but Stephen Leaney, who two weeks ago replaced Stuart Appleby in the Aussie line-up, gave them victory by beating Katsuyoshi Tomori 69-70.
Top seeds America claimed a 2-1 victory over New Zealand in Group One - although that was no thanks to US Open champion Payne Stewart, who shot a 76 against Michael Long’s level par 72. However Mark O’Meara and Tom Lehman, both with 71s, beat Greg Turner and Michael Campbell respectively to win their match.
Sweden, the other seeds in Group One, won all three games against Italy to set up the probability of a showdown with the United States later in the tournament.
Title holders South Africa made a sound start in Group Three, beating China 2-1, although Retief Goosen’s attempt to equal Greg Norman’s record of 11 successive individual wins came unstuck as he shot a 73 to lose by one shot to Xu Wiang-bing. Ernie Els and David Frost both won.
England, in the same group as the defending champions, counted on Ryder Cup captain Mark James and David Howell for their win over India, while Ireland looked extremely useful in their opening match in Group Four.
Darren Clarke shot a 69 while Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley carded 70s as they crushed fancied Zimbabwe 3-0.
Spain relied on a superb performance by Jose Maria Olazabal for their victory over France. Marc Farry beat Miguel Angel Jimenez while Sergio Garcia shot a 67 on his first visit to the Old Course to beat Jean-Francois Remesy.
Olazabal then came to the rescue for last year’s runners-up, despite a seven at the 17th. He birdied the 18th to tie Jean Van de Velde then birdied the first extra hole to clinch a Spanish win.