Friday, May 06, 2011


Winner of the inaugural event on the Optical Express Pro Golf Tour was 24 year old Paul O'Hara from Colville Park, Motherwell with a four-under-par total of 136 at Stranraer. 
O'Hara, pictured, a former Walker Cup reserve and twice beaten finalist in the Scottish amateur championship, has been campaigning on the German PGA's EPD Tour in places as far away as Morocco. His older brother Steven, of course, plays on the European Tour.
Following his opening 69 with a three-under 67 which included five birdies, a bogey 4 at the par 3 sixth, Paul O'Hara could even afford the luxury of dropping a shot at the par 4 18th and still pick up the £1,500 first prize with two strokes to spare.
This was only O'Hara's second victory as a professional - and he is already looking forward to the second Optical Express tournament at Hilton Park on May 25th - 26th.
Northern Open champion Greig Hutcheon (Banchory) finished second and earned the £900 second prize with a total of 138 (68-70).
Third place went to Carnoustie's former Walker Cup player Lindsay Mann who was the only player to match the winner's second-round 67 for a total of 139 - only the top three players finished under par for the 36 holes. Mann earned £700.
East Kilbride's Graeme Fox, who had set the first day pace with a great round of four-under 66 in unpleasant wet conditions, took 11 more shots for the second circuit. His total of 143 saw him drop to joint ninth position with a payslip for £240.
The "leading lady" was Katy McNicoll from Carnoustie. She earned £107.50 for rounds of 73 and 75 for a creditable total of 148.
Paul O'Hara commented: “This has been a fantastic two days over a really good golf course, and I am absolutely delighted and honoured to win the first event on the Optical Express Pro Golf Tour. I am already looking forward to the next event and will be supporting the tour throughout the season."
“This is great for Scottish golf and a wonderful addition to the tournament calendar. Professionally run tournament by Alan Tait and Nigel Scott-Smith and the Stranraer Club were excellent hosts,” said Scott Henderson, former European Tour Player and European Tour Rookie of the Year

David J. Russell, a veteran European Tour player and who is now a very successful player on the European Seniors Tour, sees the Optical Express Pro Golf Tour as a perfect way to prepare for life on the Seniors Tour.
Russell will tee up at the US PGA Seniors championship at Valhalla in Kentucky in three weeks  where he will be competing in the $25 million Seniors Major.
“This tour is a great way to keep competitive and keeps me focused on my game and help keep me sharp”, said the popular Russell.

Tournament Directors Alan Tait and Nigel Scott-Smith are delighted with how the first event went.
“Despite some challenges with the weather in round one, the tournament went without a hitch and we are delighted to have attracted such a strong field, made up pros from Scotland, and as far afield as Spain,” Tait and Smith commented.
“It’s great to have an opportunity to host this professional golf event at Stranraer. The members have been enjoying watching and supporting the event and it's great Stranraer Golf Club are back on the professional rota. We hope this shall be an annual event and the pros shall be welcome back in the future”, said Jim Burns, the host club secretary.

Par 140 (2x70)
136 Paul O'Hara (Colville Park) 69 67 (£1,500).
138 Greig Hutcheon (Banchory) 68 70 (£900).
139 Lindsay Mann (Carnoustie) 72 67 (£700).
141 Chris Kelly (Cawder) 70 71, David Roger 71 70 (£525 each). 
142 Graeme Brown (Montrose) 74 68, Neil Fenwick 71 71, Colin Gillies (Braid Hills) 73 69 (£340 each).
143 Graham Fox (East Kilbride) 66 77, Craig Matheson (Falkirk Tryst) 71 72,

Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills) 73 70, Andrew Oldcorn (Kingsacre) 73 70 (£240 each).
144 Chris Currie 72 72 (£200).
145 Robert Arnott (Bishopbriggs) 72 73, Andrew Fullen (Largs) 76 69, Ben Irving 74 71, Eric Ramsay (Carnoustie) 70 75 (£175 each).

146 Steven Duncan (Balbirnie Park) 76 70, Lorne Kelly 73 73, Craig Ronald (Carluke) 75 71, Alan Tait (Marriott Dalmahoy) 74 72 (£135 each).
147 David J. Russell (Archerfield Links) 74 73 (£115).
148 Jim McKinnon (Irvine) 73 75, Katy McNicoll (Carnoustie) 73 75 (£107.50 each).
149 Jason McCreadie (Buchanan Castle) 79 70 (£100).
150 John Henry 77 73.
151 Scott Henderson (Kings Links) 80 71.
152 Kevin McAlpine (Alyth) 80 72.
153 Heather MacRae (Downfield) 77 76, Jonathan Malin 80 73.
154 Tom Buchanan (Duddingston) 78 76, Lewis Burnett 78 76, Craig Gordon (Edinburgh Golf Centre) 81 73. 
155 James Erskine (Portpatrick Dunskey) 81 74. 
158 Alan Lockhart (Ladybank) 84 74 158
159 Lauren Mackin (Majorca) 82 77. 
162 Stewart Savage (Dalmuir) 80 82, Francisco Pintor Smith 81 81.
Henry Barton 85 W/D
Norman Huguet (Musselburgh) 82 W/D
Ted Innes Kerr 83 W/D
James Smallwood (Fereneze) 84 W/D
No Return
Mark King (Kingsfield)  72 N/R



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