Scott Hend's outstanding European season continued as he grabbed a share of the lead in the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart through the first round.
The 42-year-old Australian appears set to lock up his Olympic Games berth after he started with a three-under par 69 on Thursday.
Hend (ranked No. 76 in the world) is in a tussle with Matt Jones (81) and Marcus Fraser (82) for two spots available as golf returns to the Olympics at Rio De Janeiro next month. The teams will be finalised next week.
It was a tough day and only a few players broke par. Hend is tied with Frenchman Felipe Aguilar.
"Obviously conditions were quite tough and it was a little bit scrappy with some putts not quite getting to the hole but overall I'm very happy,'' he said. "It's awesome fun. It's awesome. Doesn't matter how hard it is. When you play links golf, it's just awesome. It's great.''
Hend is having one of his best years in Europe and Asia, winning the True Thailand Classic in March.
"I love it. I love it. It beats your head in, kicks you around, and sometimes you get it back. It's just great. Great fun. It's exciting.''