Hend, Aguilar one shot clear as Evans' 500-mile drive pays off


Scott Hend and Felipe Aguilar were the only two players to card below 70 on a testing opening round of the Scottish Open.

High winds at the Castle Stuart Golf Links kept things tight on day one with just three shots separating the top 41 players, but it is Hend and Aguilar who hold the overnight lead.

YE Yang and Tyrrell Hatton had spent time at four under, but successive bogeys for the South Korean and two dropped shots for the latter saw them slip away.

Australian Hend started with a birdie at the 10th, posting further gains on 12 and 16 to cancel out bogeys at 11 and 18.

The 42-year-old sunk an eagle on the second hole of his return to come in at three-under, and he enjoyed the challenge posed by the conditions.

"Obviously conditions were quite tough and it was a little bit scrappy with some putts not quite getting to the hole but overall I'm very happy," he said.

"It's awesome fun. It's awesome. Doesn't matter how hard it is. When you play links golf, it's just awesome. It's great."

Aguilar sunk a trio of birdies before dropping his first shot at the ninth, but he missed the chance to hold the outright lead with a second bogey on 18.

That hole proved troublesome for Danny Lee, too. The New Zealander produced a double-bogey that saw him slip from first down to tied-11th.

Lee's one-under 71 was matched by Luke Donald, who this week replaced Jaco van Zyl in the field for the upcoming Open Championship.

Graeme McDowell, the 2008 winner, and Padraig Harrington are two of a group of eight players that sit one shot back from the leading duo.

Ryan Evans spent Wednesday driving 500 miles from Birmingham to Inverness as first reserve, but he got his chance to play when Chris Wood pulled out.

Evans teed it up with Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer, carding a solid one-over 73 to sit tied-42nd.