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Shy Kristoffer Broberg and roaring Rory McIlroy are the talk of Aberdeen

There is a price to pay for shooting low scores.

Kristoffer Broberg takes his time on the 18th green before signing for a 65 and telling the media: 'I'm not a star.' Picture: Colin Mearns
Kristoffer Broberg takes his time on the 18th green before signing for a 65 and telling the media: 'I'm not a star.' Picture: Colin Mearns

You end up doing a myriad of media duties as a result and go round more houses than an Avon lady. "Is there much more?" pleaded the publicity-shy Kristoffer Broberg wearily as the various outlets wrung him dry like a sodden cloot rolling slowly through a mangle.

The softly-spoken Swede's ­shimmering six-under 65 in the very first match of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open set a decidedly brisk pace. It also briefly set a new course record but, back out on the rigorous Balgownie links, something even more spectacular was taking shape. Even Broberg knew his spell in the limelight - and that course record - would not last long.

"I'm not a star . . . they are," he said, pointing in the general direction of these golfing stars. The star in ­question was Rory McIlroy and he was shining brightly. His sparkling 64, which was illuminated by a ­rousing run of six birdies in seven holes from the eighth, thrust the Northern Irishman to the head of affairs as he stamped his authority over this teasing, testing clump of golfing terrain. It was a superbly assembled card and one that illustrated McIlroy's renewed sense of assurance in the links arena again.

In footballing parlance, this was a game of two halves. The front nine was playing into a robust wind and off the left. The back nine was downwind and off the right. "On the seventh I hit a really good drive 255 yards into the wind," he reported as he compared the out and in. "On the 12th, downwind, I hit it 373 yards."

McIlroy's harnessing of the exacting conditions was a considered one and he reaped the rewards, particularly on the relentless front nine, which he covered in three-under. There was craft, control and strategic nous throughout. There was also a bit of crash, bang, wallop in there too. His wind-assisted clatter off the tee on the 436-yard 13th, for instance, trickled on to the green.

"I've hit 400-yard drives before but that one was right up there," he said with a smile. All in all, this was a very good day at the office for the former world No.1. "Most importantly, I was just pleased with the way I controlled my game and my ball flight, which is the key to me playing well in these conditions and on these courses," he added.

"I've been working the last 10 days on keeping the ball down, hitting easy shots and taking spin off it, and I went out and really trusted what I practised. I mean, I usually hit a 4-iron 225 yards but today, on the seventh, I hit one 165 yards. It was just a little half shot, but it was low and exactly what I wanted. My natural game is to stand up and hit it hard with a high ball flight. That's not conducive to playing well here, but being able to conjure the shots required for this is very pleasing."

Broberg conjured his own masterclass to barge his way up the standings. The 27-year-old from Stockholm was up before the larks had even blinked themselves awake for his 6.30am tee-time, but he was certainly on song with a tidy, six-birdie 65 that shaved a shot off the course record, previously held by former Royal Aberdeen club champion Mark Halliday before that pesky McIlroy stole his thunder.

Broberg, who finished third in last month's Irish Open, is used to hitting the ground running. In 2012, he won on the Challenge Tour in Finland in only his second appearance on the circuit and then won two more in the same month to earn instant promotion to the European Tour in record time. Last year, he was left hirpling on the sidelines for six months with an in-growing toenail. It was difficult to say what had been more painful for him yesterday: the toe or those aforementioned press probings. They seemed to be more of a pain in another part of the anatomy for this man of few words. There is no questioning the dedication to his cause, though. "Golf is my life, I don't do anything else," he said sternly. "When I am home, I will practise for eight to 10 hours a day."

Both Broberg and McIlroy were in danger of being upstaged, though, by Ricardo Gonzalez, of Argentina, as he romped up the leaderboard. The 44-year-old, beaten in a three-man play-off at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles last August, picked up seven shots in a magnificent seven holes from the sixth which was concluded with an eagle on the 12th.

He leaked two shots late on in an eventual 65 but, having revelled in his country's World Cup semi-final win the previous night, the feel-good factor was still lingering. "I'm feeling my voice a little," he croaked after a night spent bawling his support at the television. "Maybe it [Argentina's win] was the key to playing well."

Michael Hoey's 66 underlined the challenge that was presented. It was a case of holding it together on the front nine and seizing opportunities coming home. One over at the turn, Hoey, whose impressive links cv includes an Amateur Championship victory at Prestwick in 2001 and a Dunhill Links triumph at St Andrews in 2011, went on the offensive with a back nine of 29 which included an eagle on 15 and a brace of finishing birdies at 17 and 18.

Marc Warren and Luke Donald, the 2011 Scottish Open winner, eased into the early picture with 67s - they were later joined by David Drysdale - to finish one ahead of the reigning champion, Phil Mickelson.

Justin Rose was another of the big guns to manoeuvre into position with a 69, but nobody could match the firepower of magical McIlroy.

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