England's Justin Rose showed signs of form ahead of next week’s Open Championship by carding a four-under-par 66 in the opening round of the Scottish Open at Gullane yesterday.
Defending champion Rose finished day one three shots off the pace, as Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen topped the leaderboard after a flawless round which included seven birdies.
A shot behind Olesen is Englishman Daniel Brookes, while compatriots Seve Benson, Matthew Nixon and Richard Finch were ensconced in a group of seven on five-under-par, along with Jimmy Walker of the Unted States.
Former US Open winner Rose chose to practice at St Andrews in the early stages of the week ahead of the Open, leaving his route around Gullane to be determined by caddie Mark Fulcher.
“He’s doing the hard work and making my schedule a lot easier,” said Rose. “It was a pretty stress-free round and I did not burn up too much energy out there.”
Ryder Cup players Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Graeme McDowell, who has only recorded one top-10 finish on the European Tour this season, all finished on four under with Rose as 77 of the 156-strong field broke par.
Five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, who won the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in 2013, ended the day on one under par, having dropped two shots on the first four holes.