Rafferty leads Walton by one after stunning 63
Ronan Rafferty. Picture: Getty Images

Ronan Rafferty. Picture: Getty Images

It sounds like a headline from the 1980s amateur scene but former European Tour No 1 Ronan Rafferty will take a one shot lead over Philip Walton into the second round of the Prostate Cancer UK Scottish Senior Open after carding a stunning opening round 63 at Archerfield Links.

The Northern Irishman, who represented Europe in The Ryder Cup in 1989, went out in 29 and was seven under par at the turn, having teed off at the tenth. He moved to eight under par for the day after a birdie on the first but dropped a shot on the fifth hole.

He then shot a stunning eagle on the sixth hole, his second of the day after scoring one on the 16th, to move to nine under par, giving the 52 year old a one stroke advantage over Philip Walton, who shot an eight under 64. Des Smyth is tied eighth after a 68.

“It happened all of a sudden,” said Rafferty. “I had a purple patch from the 14th hole to the first hole and hit some nice shots.

“We know from the Paul Lawrie Match Play a few weeks ago that 16 is a tough green. I’ve always played it as a bump and run, so I did that and it just went in. It was about 140 yards into the breeze. I chipped an eight iron and I’d play the same shot if I were here in a fourball.

“After that run, I thought to myself ‘wow, what happened in that last hour and a half?’.”

Rafferty admitted he had thought about the prospect of shooting a 59 after such a strong start, but was delighted with his opening round score in the tournament’s Alliance format on the Fidra course.

“If I had got to double figures, I might have been panicking a bit,” he said. “I’m playing with a friend of mine and we chatted like we would have in a fourball, which is nice.

“It took the pressure off me a bit, and it was nice that my mind was taken off things by helping him. All in all, it was a fairly nice day. It was nice to put a whole 18 together.”

Walton, a former Ryder Cup hero and three-time winner on the European Tour, made the turn in four under par, and made four more gains on the back nine to finish eight under par after an opening 64.

“I’ve been playing in and out this season, to be honest,” he said. “Some days have been very good and other days mediocre.

“I had a 64 in Switzerland and then shot a 68 in Germany on the second day. I’m shooting scores, but need to put it all together.”

Australian Peter Fowler, finished on six under par, one shot ahead of a chasing pack of four golfers on five under, which includes former Scottish Senior Open winners Barry Lane, who won in 2010 and 2011, and Santiago Luna, winner in 2013.

Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn leads the home charge and is four under par alongside defending champion, and recent Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex winner, Paul Broadhurst and 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam.

Scores after round  1:

63 R Rafferty (Nir)

64 P Walton (Irl)

66 P Fowler (Aus) 

67 M Harwood (Aus) , M James (Eng) , B Lane (Eng) , S Luna (Esp) 

68 A Oldcorn (Sco) , P Eales (Eng) , P Broadhurst (Eng) , I Woosnam (Wal) , D Smyth (Irl) , 

71 B McGovern (Irl)

74 E Darcy (Irl).