Stuart McLaren came hurtling up the field to top the qualifying standings in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Crail yesterday.

The Bruntsfield member, who made his breakthrough on the domestic order of merit with victory in last year’s North East District Open, posted a charging eight-under 61 over the Balcomie links for a 12-under aggregate of 129 and claimed the No 1 qualifying position by a shot from Darren Howie of Peebles and his Bruntsfield clubmate Eric McIntosh, the former Scottish Boys’ champion.

Troon’s Michael Smyth equalled the Balcomie course record with a nine-under 60 as he jumped up 54 places to seventh with a 10-under tally.

Smyth birdied eight of his first 12 holes during a rousing assault which propelled him into the knock-out stages.

In stark contrast, the overnight pacesetter, David Rudd, endured a torrid day but still kept his place in the leading 64.

Rudd, who set the new course record of 60 in round one, was 18 shots worse off yesterday with a six-over 78 on the Craighead links but his three-under total was good enough to get the qualifying job done.

Callum Macaulay, the former tour pro who is playing in his first Scottish Amateur Championship since he won it in 2008, progressed a six-under while defending champion Euan McIntosh blasted eight birdies in a 62 for a similar aggregate.

Blairgowrie father-and-son duo, Stuart and Gregor Graham, also made the grade.