The Scot had four-putted there in the final round of last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to cost himself a fair chunk of cash, even though he gave a good account of himself by tying for 17th.
It felt like a small measure of revenge, therefore, as he signed off his opening circuit in the latest edition of the $5 million pro-am by rolling in an 18-foot birdie putt for a five-under-par 67.
“I was thinking about that putt,” admitted Ferguson. “I four-putted this last time I was here, so I gave it a bit of a go. Just saw the line and poured it down there. It’s a nice feeling to make a putt on the last on the Old Course.”
The 26-year-old, a double winner on the DP World Tour in his rookie season, took pride of place among a 12-strong Caledonian contingent with a round that contained seven birdies.
“Decent score,” he declared. “It’s not easy, you always get the kind of idea that you can blitz and sometimes that can stall you. When you’re not making birdies you get angry.
“But I managed to stay quite chilled out there. I have a really nice partner in Nikesh Arora (former senior vice-president of Google). Obviously a very successful guy, so nice to hear some of his stories.”
Ferguson’s effort left him sitting six shots off the lead after Frenchman Romain Langasque equalled the Old Course record with a blistering 61.
“He played both nines downwind! Just kidding,” said Ferguson of that score. “It is out there, and you can do it. But the way the circuit is with this tournament, you need to keep doing it. Someone does that every week, so you get used to it.”
The former Scottish and British Boys’ champion was still playing on the Challenge Tour when he secured an invitation for this event 12 months ago but has returned flying high in the DP World Tour Rankings.
“I definitely came back here feeling a part of things,” admitted Ferguson. “I’m more comfortable in my own skin. I used to be ‘oh my god, there’s that guy’ with. Now I’m chatting to them, asking them about life, and they help me out.
“When you’re travelling with this golf circus week in week out, you need to be friends with everyone. I definitely feel part of that now and beginning to feel comfortable when I’m playing well or playing well. Just keep practicing and try to get better.”
Bob MacIntyre opened with a four-under 68 at Carnoustie, while Connor Syme and David Law both signed for the same score at St Andrews.
“Potentially the best set of links greens I've ever putted on, but didn't hole many putts,” reported Italian Open champion MacIntyre. “I've played this golf course so many times and the greens just get flatter and flatter every time I play.
“For me, I like to see curves, so it's difficult to see the straight line. I think I don't read them right, but I hung in there and I took my chances later on.”