Friday, September 02, 2011

LAW WINS NORTHERN OPEN - PERFECT ANSWER TO CUP SNUB



A DOUBLE HANDFUL: David Law with the Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open championship trophy AND the Bookless Cup that goes to the leading amateur.

By COLIN FARQUHARSON
Colin@scottishgolfview.com
Aberdonian David Law today became the first amateur to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Northern Open golf championship since his Hazlehead clubmate Sandy Pirie in 1970 when he headed the field of the Tartan Tour's best pros and his amateur international peers with a 14-under-par total of 266 at the Meldrum House hotel course at Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire.
Only once has a Northern Open, where four rounds have been completed, been won with a lower score - 264 by Peter Smith at a fast-running Murcar Links in the summer of 1992.
Law is also almost certainly, at 20 years of age, the youngest ever winner of the tournament which was first played in 1934 (when the winning total by Jack McLean was 294).
And yet the so talented Law is only first reserve for the GB and I team to play the United States in the Walker Cup match next weekend over the Balgownie links - where David won the 2009 Scottish boys championship before also winning the Scottish men's amateur championship at Royal Troon that summer.
Scottish champion again this year, Law might well have asked: "What more did I have to do to get a Walker Cup cap?"
But he didn't. The quiet, mild-mannered player did not want to get involved in a discussion about whether or not the R and A selectors had made a colossal blunder in leaving him on the sidelines.
All he would say was:
"The timing of this is more important to other people than it is to me. 
“To win a pro event as an amateur is a great honour. It’s my first major strokeplay victory (his three national amateur wins have all been match-play) and to play against guys like this and beat them is a big boost. It’s nice to go out and win an event like this at home in front of so many friends and family.”
Forecasts of a shoot-out finish between as many as 10 or 12 players clustered around the lead at halfway were way off the mark.
Law, joint 10th at halfway, three shots off the pace, simply blew the opposition away with a brilliant eight-under-par third round of 62 - which is certainly the lowest score ever over the parkland course but cannot be recognised as a record because preferred lies were in operation.
That bogey-free, eight-birdie round saw the Boy David surge three shots clear with 18 holes to play. He wobbled a little bit in the lead early in his final round with bogeys at the second and seventh but a birdie at the long fifth had helped to steady the ship and he pulled clear again with birdies at the ninth, 10th and 12th followed by six solid pars down the home straight.
He finished with a 68, his fourth sub-par round in succession for 266. Next week, David gets a chance to measure himself against a higher class of oppositon - the European Tour no less - in the KLM Open in the Netherlands.
Hayston pro Stephen Gray, one of the top men on the Tartan Tour this year, finished runner-up with a pair of Friday rounds of 67 for 268. Gray was six under par for the last 36 holes and early in the fourth round it looked as if he might be making a winning charge.
He birdied the first, third, fourth and seventh while Law was missing a step or two but Gray lost his momentum with a bogey at the ninth - to be out in three-under 32 - and then he fell into the doldrums and could do no better than level par for the last nine holes in level par with a bogey at the 15th and a birdie at the 16th.
But, with Law being an amateur - soon to be a pro, Gray collected the first professional prize of £4,000 - his biggest by far this season. Remarkably it was the Glasgow man's 24th top-5 finish this season and put him well clear at the top of the Tartan Tour cash table with a tally of £22,805.
Former senior footballer Neil Fenwick (Dunbar) finished a further two shots back with last-day rounds of 68 for 270. He earned £3,000.
Fourth was former Walker Cup player David Patrick (Elie Sports Club) with closing rounds of 67 and 70 for 271 and a £2,250 cheque. Bogeys at the short sixth and seventh took the wheels off any possible charge at the leader.
Stirling student Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie), joint halfway leader alongside Welshman Gareth Wright (West Linton), finished a creditable fifth on 272 with last-day rounds of 69 and 70. He's off to play in the European universities championships in Slovenia next week.
Wright, having helped to make much of the running, faded with a final round of two-over 72 for 274 and finished joint eighth.
James Byrne, the Banchory man, who is in the Walker Cup team of 10 - and deservedly so - finished tied 14th. He went off the boil with final rounds of 72 and 70, two over par for the day, having covered the first 36 holes on Wednesday and Thursday in an accumulative five under par.
Defending champion Greig Hutcheon (Banchory) never recovered from having playing partner Byrne knock the ball regularly 30 yards past him off the tee over the first two rounds - only kidding, Greig, but it was you who told me about it!
Hutch saved his best for last, closing with a 67 for 278 and a share of 16th place. But he has lost the No 1 position in the money table now to Gray. Greig has won £19,644.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE REVISED TOP TEN IN THE PGA SCOTLAND MONEY-WINNERS' LIST.
FINAL TOTALS
Par 280 (4x70)
266 David Law (Hazlehead) (am) 67 69 62 68.
268 Stephen Gray (Hayston) 69 65 67 67 (£4,000).
270 Neil Fenwick (Dunbar) 67 67 68 68 (£3,000)
271 David Patrick (Elie Sports Club) 67 67 67 70 (£2,250)
272 Graeme Robertson (Glenbervie) (am) 66 67 69 70.
273 Scott Henderson (Kings Links) 67 69 70 67, James McKinnon (Irvine) 74 66 68 65 (£1,625 each).
274 Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills) 67 71 70 66, Gareth Wright (West Linton) 65 68 69 72 (£1,125 each).
275 Craig Matheson (Falkirk Tryst) 68 70 67 70, Chris Kelly (Cawder) 68 66 71 70 (£750 each)
276 Jason McCreadie (Buchanan Castle) 68 68 69 71 (£600), Philip McLean (Peterhead) (am) 69 67 69 71.
277 Ross Kellett (Colville Park) (am) 70 68 68 71, James Byrne (Banchory) 67 68 72 70.
278 Mark Kerr (unatt) 66 72 70 70, Alan Reid (West Lothian) 65 71 69 73, Greig Hutcheon (Banchory) 68 73 70 67 (£508 each).
279 William Colquhoun (Dundonald Links) 66 70 72 71, Alan Lockhart (Ladybank) 68 72 67 72, David Orr (East Renfrewshire) 68 72 70 69 (£425 each).
280 Robert Arnott (Bishopbriggs) 73 67 75 65, Stuart Williamson (West Kilbride) 72 67 69 73 (£362 each)
281 James McGhee (Duddingston) 69 73 70 69, Graham Fox (Rowallan Castle) 70 69 73 69, Peter Smith (Deeside) 70 69 70 72 (£300 each).
282 Ross Dixon (Renaissance Club) 68 68 70 76 (£260)
283 Graeme Brown (Montrose Links) 67 71 72 73, Steven Taylor (Bothwell Castle) 68 70 74 71, Fraser McKenna (Balmore) 73 70 68 72, Lee Harper (Archerfield Links)) 69 71 71 72, Scott Crichton (Aberdour) (am) 68 66 75 74, Daniel Kay (Dunbar) (am) 69 65 72 77.
284 James White (Lundin) (am) 67 73 73 71 (pros £230 each).
285 Mark Loftus (Adam Hunter Golf) 71 68 75 71, Jonathan Lomas (unatt) 69 70 74 72 (£195 each), Paul Shields (Kirkhill) (am) 71 73 72 69.
286 Jonathan Porteous (Craigielaw) 76 68 71 71, Andrew Crerar (Panmure) 68 76 71 71, Greg McBain (Gamola Golf) 66 72 77 71, Colin Gillies (Kingsfield) 71 72 71 72, Kris Nicol (Fraserburgh) (am) 68 67 80 71, Christopher Currie (Caldwell) 71 69 72 74 (pros £175 each)
287 Alan Tait (Marriott Dalmahoy) 76 68 75 68 (£160), Nick Robson (Meldrum House) (am) 72 71 69 75.
289 Ian Taylor (Drumpellier) 71 72 69 77, Scott Grieve (Turnhouse) 72 70 75 72 (£158 each)
293 Steven Duncan (Carnoustie) 71 72 73 77, Kenneth Hutton (Downfield) 70 72 73 78 (£156 each).
295 Callum Trahan (Meldrum House) (am) 67 76 74 78
296 James Erskine (Portpatrick Dunskey) 72 72 74 78, Alastair Mackenzie (Renaisance Club) 68 73 76 79 (£154 each).

TARTAN TOUR MONEY TABLE
1 Stephen Gray £22,805.
2 Greig Hutcheon £19,644.
3 Paul McKechnie £19,288.
4 Robert Arnott £17,752.
5 Graham Fox £17,589.
6 Chris Kelly £16,136
7 David Patrick £13,268.
8 Scott Henderson £12,487.
9 Jason McCreadie £11,950.
10 Graeme Brown £11.642.

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