Thursday, 07 July 2011
Lee Westwood and Mark Tullo - joint leaders after Day 1  (EuropeanTour)
Lee Westwood and Mark Tullo - joint leaders after Day 1 (EuropeanTour)
Lee Westwood and Mark Tullo starred on day one of the Barclays Scottish Open at the new Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness.

The 38 year old Westwood, who would regain the World Number One spot with victory, carded a seven under par opening 65 that made him the joint overnight leader with Chilean Tullo as The European Tour’s newest venue was treated to some scintillating golf amidst stunning scenery on the banks of the Moray Firth.

"The more pressure I'm under this week the better," said Westwood after grabbing an eagle and six birdies.

"It's a nice way to start the next two weeks. You're never quite sure what to expect when you come to a course that you've never played before.

"I did some nice work last week on the range and hit a lot of shots out there that I probably couldn't have hit two or three weeks ago."

He picked out a driver second to 12 feet on the 530 yard 12th - his third - and a two iron to four feet into the wind on the long 18th as shots that will boost his confidence for another tilt at a first Major title down in Kent.

Tullo, a graduate from last season's Challenge Tour, still has to qualify for The Open Championship.

One spot is up for grabs to the leading non-exempt player this Sunday providing he finishes in the top five and, if Tullo keeps making ten birdies in every round, it should be in the bag for the 33 year old.

The World Number 232 can already boast of a victory over Rory McIlroy - at last year's Egyptian Open.

“One of those days I guess you could say, you have some good bounces,” said Tullo. “This is links golf and you can't control anything. I actually had fun out there - I'm trying to smile more on the golf course.  

“Sometimes I get fired up too easily but I'm trying to smile out there more. I had fun, I actually laughed off some good shots and laughed bad shots.

“I have no experience, but as I said, I hit the ball low, and I have good imagination and pretty good short game. So I don't want to talk too much, because maybe tomorrow, shoot a bad score. That's the whole thing, I enjoy playing out here and the wind and the bounces, so there's a lot of imagination into it.”

Tullo has also promised a traditional Scottish celebration on Sunday if he wins – he is trying to track down some Tullo clan tartan for a kilt.

“The funny thing is my dad said our name is Scottish, or he thinks it might be,” he added. “He thinks we have ancestors, from Scotland. I do wear skirts once in awhile so maybe it does come from out there. I do fancy skirts. But do they wear underwear? 

“You guys have to help me find it. I can put a kilt on if you get me the tartan. .

“English father, Dutch mother. They met in Ireland in a bonfire. My dad was playing the guitar and he sang to my mother. He was trying to be the cool guy and I actually guess he did play the cards right. Dutch ladies are not easy to get, that's what I hear. 

“He actually sang in Spanish, ‘Yo Tengo Unos Ojos Negres’. I won't sing it because my vocal cords are not the best. My dad was in England and my mother was in Holland, they kept dating, blah, blah, they got married in England, that's where my grandparents are from, and then moved to Chile eventually.”

Luke Donald is the player Westwood is trying to dethrone at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking and they might yet end up in a repeat of the play-off they had in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in May.

After a slow start Donald came home in 31 for a five-under 67 matched by playing partner Colin Montgomerie.

Last year's Ryder Cup Captain, who has played in every Open Championship since 1989 and was runner-up to Tiger Woods at St Andrews six summers ago, was disappointed not to be two ahead of Westwood rather than two behind him.

He bogeyed the two holes - the third and ninth - he considers the easiest two on the new links.

Padraig Harrington, last year's US Open Championship winner Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose all had 69s, while twice champion Ernie Els shot 68.

The most remarkable round was that of Scot Marc Warren. He started with a triple bogey seven, but then had seven successive birdies - one off The European Tour record - from the sixth and shot 67.

Westwood and Tullo were a stroke ahead of Ryder Cup Swede Peter Hanson, South African George Coetzee and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, joint runner-up in the Alstom Open de France on Sunday.

Welshman Phillip Price carded the shot of the day - and had 168 reasons for enjoying his first competitive hole in one at the par three 11th.

The former Ryder Cup hero holed out with an eight iron – then learned that the 168 yards he covered in one sweet stroke would be rewarded with 168 bottles of Laurent-Perrier champagne.

He said: “This is a lovely prize, and I am sure my wife Sandra and I will enjoy the product. It was nice to make a hole in one in competition for a change and even better to watch it bounce once and drop into the cup.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1DONALD, LukeENG18-19
T3WIEGELE, MartinAUT18-14
T3TULLO, MarkCHI18-14
T3GAGLI, LorenzoITA18-14
T3COETZEE, GeorgeRSA18-14

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