Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Paul O'Hara leads Northern Open after

'battle of survival' at Lossiemouth

Paul O'Hara, pictured,
produced a performance every bit as impressive as his recent record-breaking efforts on the Tartan Tour pro-am circuit to set the pace in the Northern Open.
On the toughest of days at Moray Golf Club due to a combination of incessant rain and wind gusting up to 40mph, no-one in the 84-strong field managed to break the par of 71.
The actual par on such a day was a lot higher, though, and the 72 carded by O'Hara, therefore, was a brilliant effort from the Lanarkshire man.
He started birdie-birdie and was three-under with eight holes to play before dropping shots at 11th, 13th, 14th and 18th as it turned really nasty for the later starters.
Despite that finish, O'Hara ended the day two shots clear of the field at the Lossiemouth venue, with Bathgate's Louis Gaughan leading the chase in the 72-hole event.
"It was a battle of survival all day," said O'Hara, who, along with his older brother Steven, is attached to North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd. 
"If the greens had started to flood, and I don’t know how they didn't as the fairways were flooded and even some of the rough, I’m sure it would have been called off.
"For the last six holes especially, it was pretty much unplayable. My grips were soaking, all my gloves had been used and my towels were soaking wet as well.
"But I am in good position going into tomorrow’s second round. I think it is going to be equally as bad weather-wise, so I now need to get everything dried off to go again."
Gaughan, the latest player to come off Bathgate's conveyor belt of golfing talent, was "chuffed" with his opening effort, which contained birdies at the first and 17th.
"I think that is about the toughest conditions I’ve ever played in," he declared. "It just never let up and it was freezing as well, so I was pleased to get back into the clubhouse to get some heat into me."
The West Lothian man was in contention in this event after 54 holes at Royal Dornoch last year before slipping to joint-10th following a closing 77.
"I am playing the best I’ve ever played so hopefully, if the weather holds up for tomorrow the course is very scoreable,” he added.
Ross Cameron (Saltire Energy) and Eastwood professional David Orr tied for third on 75, with Forres amateur Bryan Fotheringham among three players a further shot back.
"I don’t think I’ve ever been wetter in my life, it was just horrendous," groaned Fotheringham. "In the end, I am delighted to have shot a 76 in conditions like that."
Defending champion Greig Hutcheon was home in 44 as he signed for a 78 to sit joint-12th.



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