Grant Forrest dug deep after a nightmare start to give himself a fighting chance of being around for the weekend in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore.
The Lothians star opened with a double-bogey 6 at Macdonald Spey Valley in the first round before then dropping shots at both the third and fifth.
But, helped by four birdies, Forrest was able to salvage a three-over-par 74 to sit in the middle of the field after a day when it proved a real battle for everyone in the wet and cold.
“I got off to a rough start, including a bad tee shot at the first,” said the Craigielaw player, who had come into this event with high hopes on the back of two top-five finishes this season.
“I had to manouevre my second around a tee but had too much club and was lucky to find it, having to take a penalty drop when I did. It wasn’t great to then find myself four-over after five, but I was able to grind it out and makeing a few birdies was a big help in the end.”
Jamie McLeary, the 2009 winner, opened with the same score, as did Royal Burgess man James Ross and Renaissance Club-attached Danny Kay.
Dunbar’s Zander Culverwell carded an 82 as Welshman Richard James set the pace on six-under.