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Otaegui leads by three after sensational 62

Otaegui leads by three after sensational 62

Adrian Otaegui will take a commanding three shot lead into the second round of the inaugural Scottish Championship presented by AXA after firing ten birdies and no bogeys in his opening 62.


A brilliant burst of scoring at the beginning of both nines helped early starter Otaegui reach ten under par at a cold Fairmont St Andrews on Thursday.

That sent him into the clubhouse with a four shot lead over his nearest challengers at the time but he was reined in ever so slightly in the afternoon by Matt Wallace and Bryce Easton, who both made eagles in their 65s.

European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington was in the group another stroke back in a tie for fourth after notching four birdies in his last seven holes as the weather turned colder in the late afternoon.

Englishmen Aaron Rai, Garrick Porteous and Chris Paisley also produced opening 66s to sit four shots off the lead.

Two time European Tour champion Otaegui began his first round with a hat-trick of birdies at the first, second and third before picking up another shot at the seventh to reach the turn in 32.

The Spaniard then repeated the trick on the back nine, following up a birdie at the tenth with further gains on the par three 11th and long 12th to jump to seven under par.

He tapped in from around three feet at the 15th before closing with back to back birdies at the 17th and 18th to get into double figures under par.

Otaegui was pleased with his start to the tournament. He said: "Almost everything went well today.

"I started with three birdies and actually there were two birdie holes that I didn't birdie - the fourth and sixth - but then obviously I made some very good birdies on some other holes.

"I putted really well, I also played very well from tee to green and felt confident and relaxed - 62 is really, really good."

Wallace got off to a lightning quick start, reeling off three birdies in a row from the first - the highlight of which was a beautiful approach into the second that landed around two feet from the cup.

The four time European Tour winner's putter was working brilliantly and he holed from range for an eagle at the sixth to jump to five under.

Wallace continued to create birdie chances, narrowly missing from six feet on the seventh before picking up his fifth shot of the day from close range at the eighth.

He took advantage of the back nine's first par five - the 12th - courtesy of a birdie putt from four feet, before safely parring his way home.

Wallace faces a short turnaround as he begins his second round tomorrow morning but he insisted he does not mind when he tees off.

He said: "I really don't care. Early morning, whatever, it doesn't bother me.

"It's nice to get a score in the afternoon then get out in the morning but we don't know what the conditions will be like.

"It'll be cold tomorrow morning, it might be quite tough starting on the tenth - one of the harder holes on the course.

"I don't really mind. Late on Saturday and Sunday would be nice!"

Late starter Easton, who knows this place well having spent his wedding night at the resort overlooking the famous town of St Andrews, opened with a bogey at the tenth - his first hole - before making amends with birdies at the 12th, 13th and 15th.

He dropped another shot at the 16th but produced a magnificent eagle on the 18th to head to the turn with a spring in his step.

The 33-year-old then reeled off birdies at the first, third, sixth and seventh to join Wallace in a share of second place.

He said: "A 65 is always good and even though it’s not as windy as it has been over the last couple of days, and the course is playing a bit easier, to be out there in the cold and have two good nines, finishing in the dark and finishing strongly on a couple of holes, I’m stoked with seven under."

Easton, who is without his wife and caddie Lauren for the first time in a while this week, added: "Our family is growing. Lauren is still at home, it’s the first tournament she’s missed in two and a half years she’s been on the bag.

"Some new experiences coming up for us, for sure."

Harrington is hoping to keep up the good work after a productive day.

He said: "I was very pleased with my irons today, struck them lovely. A lot of good signs, but three more days to do it. Thursday is a bit early to be peaking."

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