Late bogeys mar Graeme McDowell's return to form
Graeme McDowell enjoyed a welcome return to form on the opening day of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
McDowell's sole top-10 finish on the European Tour this season was back in February and he missed the cut when bidding for a third successive French Open title last week, a second round of 78 being his worst score in 32 rounds at Le Golf National.
The 35-year-old Portrush native admitted he needed to "clear his mind" of thoughts about technique and looked to have succeeded with an opening 66 at Gullane, which was marred only by bogeys at the last two holes.
"It's always disappointing to finish with a couple of bogeys but I played some good stuff today," said McDowell (above), who carded four birdies in succession in a front nine of 30 and also birdied the 16th before three-putting the 17th and 18th.
But I would have taken 66 before going out."
McDowell revealed he and coach Pete Cowen had found the solution to his poor form by looking at videos of his swing from 2010, the year he won the US Open at Pebble Beach and holed the winning putt in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
"I'm trying to get back to basics and we have narrowed my stance and used my body to swing the club how I used to," McDowell added.
"I just need a few low numbers to get my belief and confidence back and today will go a long way towards that."
McDowell was by no means the only player to take advantage of the 7,133-yard par 70 composite course, with American pair Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar also finishing four under.
Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen had set the clubhouse target on seven under after a flawless 63, with England's Matthew Nixon, Spain's Adrian Otaegui and American Ryder Cup player Jimmy Walker on five under.