'Hot putter' helps Adrian Otaegui shoot 10-under-62 in Scottish Championship

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui delivered a putting master class on greens described by Lee Westwood as "some of the best I've seen" to spread-eagle the field after the opening round of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Faimont St Andrews.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 6:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 7:47 pm
Spaniard Adrian Otaegui lines up an eventual birdie putt on the 18th green in the first round of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Spaniard Adrian Otaegui lines up an eventual birdie putt on the 18th green in the first round of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

In cold conditions on the Fife coast, Otaegui carded 10 birdies on the Torrance Course as he signed for a bogey-free 62 to lead by three shots from Englishman Matt Wallace and South African Bryce Easton, with a group on 66 including Scottish Open champion Aaron Rai and Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington.

Otaegui, who won the British Boys' Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) in 2010, rolled in putt after putt as the San Sebastian man matched his lowest score on the European Tour, where both his victories have come in match-play events.

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"Almost everything went well today," said the leader. "I putted really well. I also played very well from tee to green, felt confident and relaxed. I played the same from tee to green the last two weeks, but the putter was hot today. That was the main difference."

Lee Westwood was well wrapped up top combat the cold in the first round of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Wallace carded an eagle and five birdies in his strong start, which was matched by Easton, who spent his wedding night at the resort, late in the day as he covered his last 10 holes in six-under-par.

Back on Scottish soil less than a fortnight after securing the biggest win of his career at The Renaissance Club, Rai was in impressive form again as he carded seven birdies, the same haul 49-year-old Harrington managed later in the day.

Westwood, the top-ranked player in the field, is handily-placed on five-under after picking up three shots in the last three holes as he also enjoyed a successful day with the flat stick.

"You’re not going to see better greens all year, they’re absolutely immaculate," said the Englishman in paying the greenkeepers at the Fife resort a huge compliment as it stages its first main tour event. "I think they’re some of the best links greens I’ve ever seen."Westwood has recorded five top-20 finishes in a row, a run that includes the US Open, and the 47-year-old is hoping that a 26th European Tour victory is just around the corner.

"I’m just waiting for something good to happen," he said. "Even today, I’ve shot five- under and I don’t feel like I’ve had many good breaks. I hit a great shot into 17 which has landed right where I wanted it to but, instead of hopping forward, it’s screwed back from a 6-iron downwind and gone into a real muddy spot just short of the green and I managed to make five from down there.

"I’d just gone three under par and I went back to one and instead of shooting ten under I’ve shot five under. I’m just trying to carry on doing what I’ve been doing for a few weeks now and waiting for my luck to change, being patient and not pushing too hard."Tartan trio Ewen Ferguson, Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren are all alongside Westwood, as is 2018 Scottish Open champion Brandon Stone. "It's probably the best putting round I've had the entire season," said the South African as he also enjoyed the pure greens.

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