Latest: Lawrie in early lead

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Peter Lawrie has blazed away to a spectacular start in the Barclays Scottish Open.

Ireland’s Peter Lawrie has blazed away to a spectacular start in the Barclays Scottish Open at its new venue, Castle Stuart Golf Links, near Inverness in Scotland.

Lawrie, in the first group off at 07.30, birdied five of the first six holes, but at 6-under at the turn, the Irishman was only one shot clear of England’s Danny Willett who had also completed his first nine.

Behind him Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey, winner of the British Amateur title at Prestwick a decade ago, was also enjoying a return to links golf.

Following birdies on the tenth and 11th after teeing off on the back nine, he shot an eagle at the 530-yard 12th to reach the turn in a two way tie at 3-under with lanky Englishman Chris Wood.

Clearly the two-year-old Castle Stewart links is nowhere as difficult as it is visually spectacular and certainly not on it’s first day of top level professional competition.

The world’s top two Luke Donald and Lee Westwood both began with par figures at the tenth and 11th, but Donald’s playing partner Colin Montgomerie, needing a top-five finish if he is to play in next week’s Open Championship, made a 20 foot birdie putt on the 363 yard tenth which runs along he Moray Firth.

Westwood was 2-under after eight holes, but his rival for top spot on the World Ranking list, current No 1 Luke Donald, was only on level par after seven holes.

Late starters Graeme McDowell (13.15), Phil Mickelson (13.25), Padraig Harrington (13.25), Ernie Els (3.35) and Matt Kuchar (3.35) were all due to tee off in the afternoon field.

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