Get your kicks on route 66? Well, not quite. Although delighted with an opening six-under 66 on day one of the Betfred British Masters, Richie Ramsay’s brief diversion from the straight and narrow at Hillside left one spectator requiring medical treatment while the Scottish golfer himself looked rattled by the painful encounter.

Ramsay had been motoring along quite the thing until his wayward drive on the fourth hole – his 13th – cracked a male observer behind the ropes on the head.

A 20-minute delay ensued as a stretcher was called. Fortunately, the spectator who was clattered was given the all clear but Ramsay was visibly unsettled by the incident.

“I’ve never hit a guy before and, yeah, I was upset,” said the Scot, who finished three shots off the early pace. “I’ve been hit before on the leg and I know how hard that can be. It’s a bit shocking because you can’t do anything about it. We all shouted ‘fore’ but you feel pretty responsible because you hit the shot.”

After that flurry of drama, Ramsay managed to par his way in to a tidy conclusion of a nicely assembled round.

Starting on the 10th, Ramsay began with the kind of bang you would get with a musket volley. He knocked his tee-shot on his first hole to within a foot for an opening birdie before arrowing a 5-iron in to eight feet at the next and rolling in the eagle putt.

Another birdie on his third hole continued the early offensive and despite leaking a shot on the 16th, his only bogey of the day, a haul of three more birdies left him well placed on the leaderboard

Ramsay’s assault was aided by a good showing on the greens and the use of a replica of a putter which brought him previous success on the tour seems to have done the trick.

“I was at home one time and took out the putter that I won the European Masters with in 2012,” he said of this rummage in the archives. “Ever since I went back to that, I’ve been rolling the ball a lot more consistently. Suddenly, you get your eye in a bit and it’s a lot better. I tried to look at it logically. I asked myself ‘when have I putted well and what do I like?’

“If you hear me talking about switching putters again, just give me a gentle slap on the face and say ‘don’t do it’.”

Oban rookie Robert MacIntyre opened with a 68 which was aided by a 25-footer for par on the 13th and 40-footer for birdie on the 14th.

“I had a long break and found it a bit of a struggle to get back into it again but I had a different mindset today and that paid off,” said MacIntyre.

Scott Jamieson had a 69 while David Law and Liam Johnston both posted 71s.