Ross Hinshelwood on his way to a surprise first-round win over Paul Shields. Picture: Kenny Smith
After all, he was the winner of the domestic circuit's order of merit last year and is the backmarker in the field here, with a handicap of +4.6.
He may be unseeded but White remained unbowed last night as he opened his title challenge with a convincing 6 and 4 victory over Neil Henderson in the first round.
The 24-year-old has an added incentive to put on a decent Highland show over the next few days. As a result of changes in the national selection policy, the Lundin member has yet to guarantee himself a place in the Scotland team for the Home Internationals at Glasgow Gailes in a fortnight's time.
"I was a wee bit surprised not to be seeded but there are so many different ranking systems at the moment and I'm not high enough in any of them so I can't argue with that," said White, a veteran of the last three Home Internationals. "I don't know if I'm in the team or not at the moment but a good week here won't do me any harm."
White, a member of the Great Britain and Ireland elite training squad for this season's St Andrews Trophy, certainly showed his matchplay qualities yesterday. All-square through eight holes with Henderson, White, a former Scottish Boys' champion, produced a devastating thrust to birdie the next six holes to romp to victory. "I won all of those holes except the 13th, where I holed from 35 feet and Neil followed me in to keep it going," he added.
Another unseeded player, the former Lanarkshire matchplay champion Ross Hinshelwood, caused something of a surprise with a one-hole win over the seeded Scotland cap Paul Shields.
"I'm a recreational golfer these days and thought I'd try and bring back the good old days," said Hinshelwood of his decision to play in the event for the first time since 2003.
He now meets Craig Lawrie, the teenage son of the 1999 Open champion Paul, who marked his debut in the event with a 3 and 2 win over fellow Aberdonian Paul Simpson.
Ross Bell, the Downfield man who leads the SGU's order of merit, joined White in the second round after edging out Conor Scott of Duddingston by 2 and 1. He will face a testing encounter with Bryan Fotheringham, the former regular Scotland internationalist who has taken a back seat from full-time competition in recent years but still poses considerable menace in the one-to-one format.
The 34-year-old, a support worker in Inverness, holed his second shot on the fifth for an eagle en route to a 5 and 4 defeat of Perthshire's Stuart McKendrick during which he was three-under for the 14 holes played.
Paul Ferrier, the former Scottish Boys' champion who reached the last four of June's Amateur Championship at Royal Troon, made another purposeful start to a matchplay campaign with a 6 and 5 win over Prestwick's James Bunch.
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