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The wind has been whipping across the exposed links all week and a steady 20mph and the occasional squally rain shower made for tough scoring conditions, but 15 players were able to break par. The majority of those in the slightly better afternoon conditions.
Three-time Challenge Tour winner Coles’ only dropped shots were a double bogey on 6, but he also racked up six birdies on an extremely tidy scorecard in the trying conditions.
“I’m delighted,” said the Englishman. “I thought it was a great golf course the first time I saw it this week and it was really tough at the start of the week. I hit it pretty straight and kept it in play. You call on your short game and I hit quite a few greens, but it’s a tough golf course when the winds blowing.”
Hutcheon was one-over-par after five holes, but he got to -5 with a birdie at the par-5 16th before a bogey at the next hole dropped him back to -4. The Aberdeen native would sign for a 68 after a delicate up-and-down from long of the 18th green.
Two-time DP World Tour winner Brier started on the 10th and he didn’t have a single birdie in his first 12 holes, but the Austrian caught fire and stormed up the leaderboard with five red numbers in his last six holes.
“I had to stay patient because I played alright,” said Brier. “Then I hit some really good iron shots into the greens. I just stayed patient and it was good. The first 12 holes it was still pretty windy and tough to get it close and then the last few holes it got a bit lighter and it was really nice to play.”
The best of the morning wave was Van Phillips with a 69. The Englishman went out in 34, including a fantastic eagle on the par-5 6th, and traded three birdies and two bogeys on the back nine to complete a positive opening round.
Also one shot off the lead is Scotland’s Euan McIntosh, while defending champion Richard Green and three-time Legends Tour winner Chris Williams are at -2.
Order of Merit number one Adilson da Silva lies in tied-16th after a 72 that featured four birdies and four bogies, including a disappointing bogey-bogey finish.
Round Two gets underway at 8am tomorrow – follow all the action on the website and our social media channels!