Monday, October 16, 2017


Gareth Wright has been inspired by Tyrrell Hatton as he bids to become the first player in more than 25 years to successfully defend the M and H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship.
The West Linton pro beat Paul O'Hara in a play-off at Gleneagles to win last year's 100th staging of the event - the second time he'd claimed the coveted title in three years.
Now Wright is relishing the opportunity to try and secure back-to-back victories in the Tartan Tour's flagship event, a feat last achieved by Ross Drummond in 1989-90.
This year's tournament, which carries an increased £53,000 prize fund, is being held as M and H Logistics celebrates its 30th year in business.
"It is always difficult to go back and defend a title as there is a little bit more pressure, especially when you look at the guys that are playing in the field," said Wright. "Paul O’Hara, for example, is having a great year, so he will definitely be one to watch out for.
"But it can be done, as Tyrrell Hatton proved last week when he became the first player to win the Dunhill Links back-to-back."
Wright eagled the 18th on the King's Course 12 months ago to pip O'Hara in their title shoot-out afrer the pair had finished locked together on 16-under-par.
"Winning last year meant a lot, especially as it was the second time in three years I had claimed the title," added The 35-year-old.
"After suffering the disappointment of missing the cut in the British Masters the previous week, I travelled up to West Linton for a lesson with my dad, Ian.
"He said I was swinging great and just needed to go up to Gleneagles and shape shots. To win after him giving me that confidence was fantastic and it was a great end to the season."
The Welshman is heading into his title defence, which starts today (Monday). in fine fettle, having won the P and H Championship at The Renaissance Club outright before then tying for top spot in the Highland Golf Links Pro-Am at Castle Stuart, Nairn and Royal Dornoch.
"It is very encouraging heading into the event on the back of some good performances, so I will be looking forward to pegging up on Monday," he admitted.
"I love going back to Gleneagles. It is one of my favourite resorts around the world and I spend a bit of time there with my family.
"In fact, we are heading up in November for my birthday and then again in February for our 10th wedding anniversary. It is a special place for me.
"I love the King's Course. It is such an enjoyable course to play, the views are great and just the quietness of the location is awesome."
O'Hara, who won both the Northern Open and Titleist & Footjoy PGA Professional Championship earlier in the year, leads the Order of Merit title race from Greig Hutcheon and Wright heading into the final counting event.
"Winning next week would certainly round off a great season," admitted O'Hara, who is attached to North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd. "There are so many experienced and great players on form so it won't easy, but I have a good scoring record on the King's Course so will stick to my game plan and see where I finish come Thursday.
"I love playing at Gleneagles as it’s one of the best resorts in the world. We are lucky to get this event at such a prestigious venue."
The 66-strong field contains nine past champions, namely Wright, Hutcheon (1999 and 2013), Alastair Forsyth (2000), Fraser Mann (2002), Craig Ronald (2004), Mark Loftus (2007), Jason McCreadie (2008), Chris Doak (2010) and Graham Fox (2012).
Others chasing Gleneagles glory in the event include PGA Cup star Chris Currie (Caldwell), Deer Park Masters winner Gavin Hay (Grantown-on-Spey) and O'Hara's older brother, Steven, a former European Tour player.
“The PGA is delighted to be part of the celebration of M and H Logistics’ 30th year of operation by delivering the 101st staging of the Scottish PGA Championship  at Gleneagles," said PGA in Scotland secretary Shona Malcolm.
"There’s no doubt that, with the company’s support, this historic event is going from strength to strength and will prove to be a great way to link the game of golf with the charitable and community activities that are close to the heart of the M&H Logistics family.”
Anna Kozlowska, Marketing and Development Director at M&H Logistics added: “We wish every participating player all the best of luck in this year’s championship and we look forward to opening the event with our pro am on Sunday."
You can follow live scoring from the M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship by clicking here.



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