As the holder of the Scottish PGA Championship, Greig Hutcheon gets to spend the duration of his title defence revelling in the majestic opulence of the Gleneagles Hotel. The complimentary room is one of the perks that comes with success. It also adds an extra bit of pressure, it seems. "My wife said 'you'd better win'," remarked the 2012 champion Graham Fox, who savoured the five-star treatment with his better half this time last year and set about returning to that lap of luxury with a five-under 66 to gave him a share of the first-round lead with Chris Kelly.
Hutcheon, meanwhile, clearly enjoyed his first night of the high life. "I had oysters, lobster bisque, fillet steak, the works," he belched, after opening his challenge on the King's Course with a 69. He perhaps enjoyed it too much, mind you. "It was an absolute treat, the experience is phenomenal but I may have had too much rich food. I woke up at 3am and couldn't sleep again."
The fact that Hutcheon was on the first tee at 7.30am probably didn't help the general tossing and turning but he was still sprightly enough to card a two-under round which included a brace of late birdies at 16 and 18.
Kelly, the national champion in 2003, showed that he was up for the challenge as he powered to the front. Competing in the Portpatrick Pro-Am at the weekend, the 36-year-old covered his last six holes in seven-under en route to victory there and he carried that form on to the King's Course with a six-birdie round.
Fox illuminated his 66 with a putt of 20-feet for a birdie on the third while Ross Cameron and Christopher Robinson tucked themselves in behind the leaders with a pair of 67s. "I had a very nice 25-foot putt down the hill on the 5th which dropped after a wee lap of honour round the hole," said Robinson with a smile.
It was more of a grimace that David Orr wore on his face after a battling 68. "I pulled a muscle in my back at the gym recently and had to call for painkillers on the fifth," said the 2009 Scottish champion, who ploughed on and reeled off a trio of birdies at 14, 15 and 16 to keep himself in the hunt.