The last time Worksop’s Lee Westwood won the week before the Open he went to Royal Birkdale as joint favourite with Tiger Woods and appeared to run out of gas.
But, 13 years on from his two closing rounds of 78 there, Westwood could well have a chance to show he can do far better - even win again.
Lifting the Barclays Scottish Open title at Castle Stuart near Inverness on Sunday would take the 38-year-old to Sandwich as world number one once more and a seven-under-par opening 65 made him the joint overnight leader with Chilean Mark Tullo.
“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.”
Sheffield golfer Danny Willett is tied 30th after a round of 69.