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Greig Hutcheon and Wallace Booth enjoy sunny disposition in Highland

Who said the Scots are dour?

With  a combination of Greig Hutcheon's luminous yellow bunnet and Wallace Booth's dazzling troosers, the tartan twosome made the kind of bold, sartorial statements not seen since Joseph emerged from the locker room with his technicolour rig out.

The Scottish Hydro Challenge didn't need much more illuminating, mind you, on a delightful day in Aviemore as that big, fiery orb in the sky presented Macdonald Spey Valley in all its Highland majesty.

Hutcheon enjoyed his fling with an eventful four-under 67 while Booth, who is continuing along the road to recovery after a debilitating shoulder injury, posted a 68 to finish in the upper reaches of a leaderboard which was headed by the Englishman Jason Barnes and Chile's Mark Tullo.

These days, Hutcheon is a stalwart of the domestic Tartan Tour. However, when the occasional opportunity arises to test himself on a wider front, the 41-year-old, who won three times on the Challenge Tour in his heyday, still possesses the weapons required to make a robust assault among some of Europe's up-and-coming talents.

The addition of bright colours to his armoury started five years ago when he began playing with a yellow ball. Since then, he has added fluorescent pink markers to the various odds and ends in his bag. "People think they are a bit of a joke but mark your ball and come to the far side of the hole on a 30 to 40 foot putt and it stands out like a beacon," said Hutcheon, who made an early raid with three birdies on his first five holes. "Golf is a visual game and anything that can heighten that perception of where the ball is has to be a help."

And what about that yellow cap? "There's been some mickey taking and it won't catch on . . . nothing I do catches on," he added with a smile.

Booth, the former Walker Cup player who helped Scotland win the World Amateur Team title in 2008, has not had much to smile about in recent years as his fledgling professional career was derailed by a complex shoulder injury which required surgery. A former junior wrestler, Booth was always pumping iron in the gym but that kind of physical exertion was too strenuous a programme for golf. "I learned the lesson the hard way," said Booth, who turned pro in 2009 but was sidelined for the best part of two years.

Slowly but surely, the big-hitting 28-year-old is making strides and a 68, highlighted by an eagle 3 on the 17th, was another step in the right direction.

He may have lost "30 to 40 yards" off the tee, having reined in some of that fearsome power to ease the stress on his shoulder, but Booth still gives it a good old clatter. "My game is very close and I just need to cut out the sloppy stuff," added Booth, who had a career-best finish of seventh on the Challenge Tour in Austria in May.

At the head of affairs, Barnes birdied four of his last six holes in a 65 while Tullo, who took over 30 hours to travel from Malaga to Aviemore due to an air traffic control strike and arrived only the night before the championship, matched that score as he rekindled is passion for this neck of the woods with a six-under card.

Three years ago, the Chilean, who claims Scottish ancestry, shared third in the Scottish Open just up the A9 at Castle Stuart. Dare we say it, he could be a Red Hot Chile Piper again this week. "Scotland with sunny weather is one of the best places in the world," he said.

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