Sunday, July 09, 2017

Gareth Wright wins AAM Scottish Open

qualifier, amateur Sandy Scott third
 Quartet of qualifiers: l to r Paul O'Hara, Sandy Scott, Gareth Wright and Jack Doherty. Picture by Kenny Smith

West Linton PGA professional Gareth Wright won the Aberdeen Asset Managment Scottish Open qualifier for the second time in three years today.
He finished three shots clear of the field at Kilmarnock (Barassie), where fellow pros Jack Doherty and Paul O'Hara, as well as Nairn amateur Sandy Scott, were the others to secure spots in the £5.5 million event at Dundonald Links.
Wright laid the foundations for his third consecutive success in this event with a brilliant nine-under-par 64 on Saturday and backed that up with a solid 71 in the second round.
The Edinburgh-based Welshman managed to save par at the first after having to take a penalty drop from a bush, then covered the next 14 holes in regulation figures before making back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th.
He finished with an impressive 11-under-par total, given that the opening round was played in a breeze and it was then wet and miserable for most of the second circuit on the Ayrshire coast.
"It is great to be in a Rolex Series event that is being headlined by Rory McIlroy," said Wright. "I also have good memories from Dundonald, having shot a 62 there in a Tartan Tour event a few years back."
Doherty, last year's winner, progressed again after two rounds of 69, his wife Jocelyn caddieing for him in the second circuit.
"She is definitely the best-looking caddie I've ever had," he said, smiling, after signing off with a birdie, though he would have made it through without that.
"That's two years in a row now and it feels nice to be playing in a Scottish Open just 15 minutes from my house," added the Kilmarnock man.
US college student Scott, a 19-year-old from Nairn, emulated the success of Tantallon's Calum Hill in the inaugural qualifier at North Berwick two years ago as he passed the test on this occasion with flying colours.
Winner of both the Scottish boys' stroke-play and Scottish youths' titles last year, Scott birdied the last two holes for a best-of-the-day 67 to finish third on seven-under.
This success makes up for the disappointment of Scott missing out on a place in the six-strong Scotland side set to defend the European team championship in Austria this coming week.
"I was disappointed about that, of course, but to have this as a consolation is fantastic," said the young Highlander.
"I went to a couple of Scottish Opens at Castle Stuart and now it is great to know I will be playing in it."
O'Hara, winner of both the Northern Open and the PGA Professional Championship in recent weeks, will now get the chance to test himself against some of the best players in the world after securing a first European Tour start.
The North Lanarkshire Leisure-attached player rolled in a 30-foot eagle putt at the first extra hole to win a play-off against Kirkhill amateur Craig Ross after they had finished tied for fourth on six-under.
"This continues my recent good form and now I am looking forward to my first European Tour event as a player, having caddied for my brother Steven in plenty," said O'Hara.

par 146 (2x73)
135 G Wright (West Linton) 64 71
138 J Doherty (Rowallan Castle) 69 69
139 S Scott (Nairn) (amateur) 72 67
140 P O'Hara (N Lanarkshire Leisure) 72 68, C Ross (Kirkhill) (amateur) 68 71 (O'Hara won play-off to be fourth qualifier for AAA Scottish Open).

142 E Walker (Kilmarnock Barassie) (am) 73 69, R Arnott (Bishopbriggs) 73 69. R Cameron (Saltire Energy) 70 72.
143 C Kelly (Stirling) 73 70, W Booth (Pitlochry) 73 70, J McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie) 73 70, J Savage (Cawder) 70 73.
144 I Graham (Crow Wood) 74 70, P Shields (Paul Lawrie GC) 71 73, I Campbell (Cheshunt Park) 71 73, G Hutcheon (PLGC Inchmarlo) 70 74.
145 Kris Nicol (Dunes Golf Centre) 74 71, J Wright (Forres) (amateur) 73 72, C Marr (Musselburgh) 72 73, J Henry (Clydebank and Dist) 72 73, M Owenson (Gullane) 72 73.
146 Graham Forbes (Mar Hotel) 75 71, P McGhee (Royal Burgess) 75 71, A McArthur (Windyhill) 74 72, S Binning (Mearns Castle) 73 73, R McConnachie (Peterculter) 72 74, R Menzies (Trump Turnberry) 71 75 S Henry (Carrick) 68 78.

147 G McBain (Newmachar) 75 72, R Franssen (Inverness) (amateur) 75 72, C Currie (Caldwell) 73 74, S O'Hara (N Lanarkshire Leisure) 72 75.
148 L Saltman (Calum Smith Pro Shop) 78 70, S Speirs (Swanston New) 72 76, N Fenwick (Dunbar) 70 78
149 C Lawrie (Paul Lawrie GC) 76 73, K McNicoll (Carnoustie) 76 73, R Clarke (Golf Dedication Centre) 76 73, D Kay (Renaissance) 75 74, N Henderson (Renaissance) 74 75.
150 I Colquhoun (Loch Lomond) 77 73, S Gray (Lanark) 76 74, C Matheson (Falkirk Tryst) 75 75, J Ross (Royal Burgess) 74 76, M Stewart (Troon Welbeck) 73 77, P McKechnie (Braid Hills) 73 77





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