Scottish Open: Matt Fitzpatrick finds Castle Stuart difficult to conquer
Matt Fitzpatrick felt the wrath of links golf as a poor second nine holes halted his progress at the Scottish Open.
The Sheffield golfer made a strong start after beginning his round on the tenth hole with an early morning tee time at Castle Stuart.
An eagle on 12 was followed up by a birdie on 16 with no bogeys on his front nine as he took advantage of favourable morning conditions in Inverness.
He turned around with a brilliant 33, putting him one shot off the lead at the time but his round suffered an immediate downturn in conjunction with the weather.
The wind increased in ferocity and Fitzpatrick carded four bogeys in his last nine holes to finish one over par.
Fitzpatrick begins his second round on Friday at 1.25pm.
Graeme McDowell had no such difficulties.
The Ulsterman carded a two-under 70 to lie a shot off the lead held by Australia’s Scott Hend and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar.
McDowell missed the cut with rounds of 80 and 73 in the French Open last week, but made the most of his early exit to practice at Royal Troon, where he made his Open debut in 2004.
“I think the two days at Troon were a big help coming into this week.
“The wind really blew hard Saturday and Sunday when I was there. It really prepared me well and it’s nice to get a couple under and get off to a good start. If it continues to blow like this, this is going to be a grind this weekend.”