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Trish Johnson rolls back the years . . . all the way to 1298

There's a history of the English setting up camp here at Archerfield.

Trish Johnson found her old favourite putter in a friend's garage
Trish Johnson found her old favourite putter in a friend's garage

Way back in 1298, as some senior Herald readers may hazily recall, Edward I's invading army of bowmen based themselves in this neck of the woods, hence the name.

It's golf balls, not murderous arrows, that take flight these days and it was England's veteran campaigner Trish Johnson who hit the target as she established a fortified position at the top of the leaderboard on day one of a wet and blustery Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.

The 48-year-old, with 18 Ladies European Tour wins and a trio of LPGA Tour triumphs on a jam-packed cv, harnessed the rigorous conditions over the Fidra links with a neatly assembled six-under 66 to open up a three-shot advantage over France's Anne-Lise Caudal. Johnson certainly rolled back the years and it was a rummage back into the archives that aided her Archerfield assault.

"That's one of my best rounds in a long time and I went back to an old putter I last used donkeys' years ago," admitted the Solheim Cup stalwart, who was partnering Alan Hansen in the celebrity-infused Pro-Am format. "I was looking around a friend's garage and I saw this two-ball putter and said 'I'm sure that's mine'. I think I used it about 10 years ago so decided to give it a go. I've been putting poorly and haven't had much confidence on the greens but this was much better. It has a lovely sweet spot and I holed two or three 25-footers. It just felt really comfortable."

Things weren't too comfortable for Johnson a few days ago, mind you. "I'd got back from playing in America and was in the house getting some washing out of the machine when my back just seized up," added Johnson, highlighting the abundant perils of humdrum, domestic chores. "It was pretty dodgy and I wasn't sure if I'd even play here."

Far from hirpling along, though, Johnson was flying and four birdies on her first five holes saw her surge to the front. In 2010, Johnson led the Scottish Open with three to play but stumbled on the run-in and tied second. Two years ago, she led with five to play but slipped back to fourth. "It would be nice to finish it off," added Johnson, who birdied the tough 15th into the wind which she admitted felt like an eagle.

Carly Booth capitalised on Johnson's wobble in 2012 to plunder the Scottish bounty and the Perthshire youngster tucked herself into the chasing pack yesterday with a two-under 70. Now based in the sunny climes of Marbella, the 22-year-old double tour champion admitted that the dour east coast conditions were "a bit of a shock to the system" but she delivered in the downpours to spearhead the Scottish challenge alongside compatriot Kylie Walker.

"I've struggled to get the ball in the hole this season but putted very well today," reported Booth, who reached the four-under mark through 11 holes but leaked shots at the 12th and 13th.

Walker, who celebrates her 28th birthday today, continues to feed off the feelgood factor of her two European Tour wins this season and she opened her bid with a raking birdie putt of 35-feet on the first hole.

Sally Watson, the former Curtis Cup player in the hunt for the tour's rookie of the year award, posted a spirited one-under 71 on an exacting day during which she had to "keep fighting" while Catriona Matthew had to settle for a one-over 73.

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