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Friday, 19 March 2010
Barclays Scottish Open - First Round  (Getty Images)
Barclays Scottish Open - First Round (Getty Images)

Left-hander Richard Green leads The Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond after a seven under par 64.

And compatriot Adam Scott is only two behind on a good day for the Australian contingent.

Glasgow-born, but Arizona-based Scot Martin Laird, over from the US PGA Tour for his first-ever professional tournament in Europe, leads the home challenge on six under.

Laird, watched by proud parents and grandparents, twice chipped in en route to a 65 which put him in joint second place with 42 year old Irishman Paul McGinley, England's Graeme Storm and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño.

Green first came to global attention back in 1997 when he beat Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam in a play-off in Dubai, but his only European Tour victory since then came in Austria two years ago.

"I haven't handled the pressure quite as well as I would have liked to," admitted the 38 year old from Melbourne. "But the more I put myself there the more and more I feel like I can do it.

"The best advice I've had is to pretty much try not to do anything out of your own ability - see what you can achieve and just do the best you can with what is in front of you."

His round came after a pro-am which he ended worried about his swing.

"It was a bit of a surprise - I'd been playing well for three weeks and all of a sudden I couldn't find it. But I went on the range for probably an hour and an half and got things back on plane."

A curling 35 foot putt for eagle on the 13th, his fourth, settled him after he had bogeyed the one before and six birdies followed.

Scott, World Number three only 12 months ago, is currently down at 43rd and prior to last month's US Open Championship missed seven out of eight cuts.

McGinley is back in The Open Championship next week after failing to qualify for Birkdale last year and he commented: "I'm comfortable in Scotland.

"I come up here to watch Celtic and see (coach) Bob Torrance and sometimes that has an effect. I get a lot of support - or half the population up here anyway!"

Storm was British amateur champion ten years ago, but after early struggles in his pro career went to work cleaning trays outside a cake factory to earn some extra cash.

The 31 year old finally established himself in 2005, however, and two years later won the Open de France.

To move to the next level, though, coach Peter Cowen advised him to work on his fitness and a shock was in store when he was tested.

"I had a scan for body fat and things like that," he said. "I'm not going to tell you exactly, but it wasn't very good and obviously it gives you sort of a kick-start.

"The World Number One (Tiger Woods, of course) is the fittest guy, the best in every department, so being fit is a massive thing and helps you mentally as well.

"I enjoy doing it, although I got a new programme on Tuesday and it nearly killed me in the gym."

Storm, a stone lighter than before he began really working out, was in the first group off at 7.30am, birdied the first two and had a hat-trick from the 15th.

Laird joined him with two closing birdies and the 26 year old stated: "I was a little more nervous than usual, so it's obviously a dream start for me."

Sir Nick Faldo, playing his first tournament of the year and also in the coming Open Championship, was two under after seven, but slipped back to a level par 71.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAYMER, MartinGER18-15
T2JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-13
T2FDEZ-CASTAÑO, GonzaloESP18-13
T4SCOTT, AdamAUS18-12
T4KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-12
T6WATNEY, NickUSA18-11
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