By Matt Smith
Cameron Tringale shot sensational nine-under 61 to open up a three-stroke lead over a star-studded field — including 14 of the top 15 players in the world – at the first co-sanctioned DP World Tour and PGA Tour event, the Genesis Scottish Open.
The American took advantage of calm conditions early on at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick to equal the course record. HIs closest challenger, major winner Gary Woodland, was three back on six-under in the traditional warm-up to the Open Championship next week.
After four straight pars to settle himself in, Tringale birdied nine of the next 11 holes. Every part of his game seemed to be working as he was in close with most of his approaches and when he was not, a 38-footer dropped at the eighth and another long one found the bottom of the cup at the 11th, before he closed his bogey-free round with three pars.
South African Justin Harding — who was one of the last-minute additions to the field after his reprieve from a ban for joing up with the LIV Golf series — sits in third place, four off the lead, while three players — Rasmus Højgaard, Mito Pereira and Kurt Kitayama — are one shot further back on four-under.
Ewen Ferguson is the leading Scot alongside seven other players on three-under, with major winners Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose amongst the group at two under.
“Golf is more fun when the putts are going in, and they were for me today,” said Tringale. “I had a great group of guys to play with and it was relaxed. Everyone more or less had some good shots, and the vibe was good in our group no doubt.
“I think I’m pretty creative when it comes to the shots around the greens and being able to visualise and imagine shots that are not traditional for us in the States. I just think it’s so much fun to have that kind of optionality and to have fun with those shots. There’s probably five ways you can play most shots. It’s fun to be an artist out here. In that respect, I like my chances here.
“Hard to learn when you have such a great day by I definitely learned the last couple days just how strong the wind is, like how much it’s moving the ball, particularly side-to-side and the crosswinds. So that was one thing that I was able to navigate pretty well today. Obviously continue to hope to do more of that.
“Honestly it feels good. I wasn’t thinking about my score. Wasn’t thinking about where I was in the tournament. Like I said, I got off to a slow start. I had to make a couple ten footers for par in the first few holes. I was just focused on playing my game.”
Woodland added: “I played beautifully, drove the golf ball great. Kept it in play. Pace, speed of the greens for me was as good as my face has ever been. Big emphasis this week on trying to get more familiar with that, especially for next week.
“I think the big deal is the pace of greens. They are usually typically so fast back home and over here you can’t get them that fast with the conditions.
“I’ve struggled coming over here. I played the Scottish once before, 2011, so it’s been a long time. But it’s nice to get over here and get familiar with the speed of the greens. That will be a big deal next week as well.”
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