Stuart McKessick won the first match of this year’s Evening Express Champion of Champions campaign.
Royal Tarlair member Stuart, 26, had home advantage when beating George Ramsay, of Oldmeldrum, by 6&4 in the men’s handicap.
Five-handicapper Stuart said: “I started well, winning the first then sunk a 10ft putt to go 2up after two.
“I played steady golf from tee to green at every hole.
“The wind started to pick up at the sixth and was in my favour as most weeks we play in blustery conditions.
“At the turn I was 3up having given three of the five shots I had to offer George, who struggled a bit with the speed of greens.
“I was out in one-over and played great golf on the back nine, parring every hole, to finish one over for the 14 holes when the match ended.
“I didn’t really give George much chance of any comeback.
“It was a really enjoyable match. George is a really nice guy.”
Marine engineer Stuart now faces John A Sim, of Rosehearty, in the second round.
Stuart had booked his place in last year’s tournament by winning the Royal Tarlair handicap championship in 2019 but the Champion of Champions and all the North-east District events were cancelled last year due to Covid.
“I won the handicap championship with a score of 270,” added Stuart.
“Heading into the fourth and final round, I was seven shots behind but I shot a two-under-par 69 for a nett 63 to win the handicap title by six strokes.
“I only lost out on the scratch championship by one stroke to Alexander Wood.”
Stuart started playing golf at Royal Tarlair about 12 years and won the junior club championship twice.
Meanwhile, two-time Champion of Champions scratch winner David Morrison got off to a flying start by defeating Gavin Elrick, of Dunecht House, by one hole in his first round match.
David will have home advantage against Cameron Johnstone (Northern) in the second round.
The Champion of Champions is sponsored by Aberdein Considine.
EARLY CHAMPION OF CHAMPION RESULTS
MEN’S SCRATCH (FIRST ROUND)
Bruce Wisely (+1) Inverallochy beat John Borthwick (2) Trump International 7&6. Gavin Elrick (3) Dunecht House lost to David Morrison (+2) Meldrum House 1 hole. Craig Bain (0) Duff House Royal beat Eric Thomson (5) Oldmeldrum 3&2.
MEN’S HANDICAP (FIRST ROUND)
Matthew Downie (5) Inverallochy beat Bruce Urquhart (10) Peterhead 4&3. John Sangster (13) Alford beat Scott Imray (12) Auchenblae 1 hole. Stuart Sutherland (12) Trump International lost to Dale Allan (6) Fraserburgh 3&2. Craig Shaw (12) McDonald Ellon beat Gregor Dick (8) Braemar 19th. Stuart McKessick (5) Royal Tarlair beat George Ramsay (10) Oldmeldrum 6&4. Douglas Allan (7) Longside beat Aiden Gibb (7) Peterculter 4&3.