Going from the raucous, rambunctious bear pit of the Ryder Cup to the relative tranquillity of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is such a dramatic change of pace, the violent deceleration just about gives you whiplash.

Examining the biomechanics of Piers Morgan’s swing in this creeping six-hour celeb-athon, meanwhile, is broadly equivalent to the brutality of movement experienced by crash test dummies in a head-on collision. It was a day for painful encounters on the links.

The grisly accident at the Ryder Cup, which left a spectator fearing she may be left blinded in one eye after being struck by Brooks Koepka’s errant shot, has generated a considerable amount of media coverage and the perils of watching golf were put into sharp focus again at Kingsbarns as a lady from Edinburgh was left bloodied and bruised by a wayward clatter from European team member and reigning Dunhill Links champion Tyrrell Hatton.

While the spectator in question was pictured smiling as she was carted off to hospital to get stitched up, Hatton was left visibly shaken by this unfortunate meeting of ba’ and bonce near the 15th green.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever hit someone and I was pretty devastated,” admitted Hatton, who recovered his composure to post a two-under 70 and finish day one just two shots off the lead held by Matt Wallace and Marcus Fraser. “It’s probably one of the worst feelings I’ve had on a golf course. I gave her a hug. I didn’t know what to do. My head was all over the place. I had put my arm around her daughter when I got up to the 15th green because she was crying. It was obviously a horrific moment.

“It’s not a sight you ever want to see. You want spectators to come out and have a great day. Unfortunately, on this occasion, she didn’t get to enjoy her day.”

In something of a strange twist, Hatton’s playing partner, Luke Donald, left another spectator hirpling and hobbling with a blow on the ankle. “Both incidents were just bizarre that they should happen in the same group and on the same hole,” said the former world No 1.

On a chilly, boisterous day with a strong cross wind providing plenty of menace and mischief, Hatton mounted a spirited salvage operation after that calamity on the 15th – his fifth – and covered his inward half in four-under to keep his bid for a third successive Dunhill title on track.

Koepka harnessed the conditions to good effect as he finished alongside Hatton on the two-under mark with a round bolstered by a brace of birdies at 16 and 17. After the anguish caused by his own grim involvement in an accident with a spectator just a few days ago, the 28-year-old is getting used to fielding questions about bashings and batterings.

“I’ve been to a hundred baseball games and I sit behind the net in the first row,” he said. “I’m trusting the net but sometimes there’s a good chance the net doesn’t work and the ball comes and drills me in the face. That’s the unfortunate thing about watching sport.

“Everyone – the European Tour, the PGA Tour - is doing what they can to limit the risk. But on days like today when it’s blowing 30 miles per hour, it’s hard to control the golf ball.”

At the head of affairs, Fraser plotted a tidy path round the rigours of Carnoustie and leaked just one shot in a nicely assembled four-under 68 while Wallace, a three time winner on the European Tour this season, had his four-under score on the Old Course which was aided by a telling thrust going out as he picked up four birdies in five holes from the fifth.

The veteran duo of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley used all their experience and golfing nous to finish among the frontrunners after a pair of 70s at Kingsbarns with Tommy Fleetwood coming in a shot further back with a fighting 71.

The Ryder Cup hero had been thee-over after 10 holes but demonstrated his grit and guile to winkle out four birdies on the run-in. Stephen Gallacher, the Dunhill Links champion in 2004, was the best of the Scots with an eventful one-under 71 at Kingsbarns which featured two double-bogeys and five birdies.