Thursday, October 19, 2017

Chris Kelly claims third M and H Logistics
Scottish PGA title with wire-to-wire win
 Chris Kelly pictured with the Scottish professional championship trophy at Gleneagles. Picture courtesy of Kenny Smith.
Chris Kelly survived a last-round wobble before claiming his third M and H Logistics PGA Scottish Championship with an impressive wire-to-wire win at Gleneagles today.
The 40-year-old had increased a five-shot overnight lead to seven after seven holes before seeing his playing partner, Paul O'Hara, close the gap to just two with four holes to play.
Doubts Kelly had expressed despite opening with a stunning 63 on the King's Course then backing that up with a 67 suddenly became real, but he kicked away again over the closing stretch.
The Stirling-based player finished birdie-birdie-par-birdie for a closing 67 and a 13-under-par total, winning an event shortened to 54 holes due to bad weather by six shots.
It was the biggest winning margin in the Tartan Tour's flagship event since Kelly claimed his first title triumph by seven shots on the PGA Centenary Course in 2003.
His second success, in 2015, was secured on the King's Course in a play-off against Paul McKechnie.
"I can't quite believe it," admitted Kelly, who hadn't played nearly much as normal this season after taking up a post under the long-serving Ian Collins at Stirling.
"I played lovely on the front nine today and felt happy and in control, but felt I was tying up a little on the back nine. 
"All of a sudden, Paul cut my lead to just two shots and I thought, 'oh no, here were go'.
"But, thanks to hitting a 6-iron to about two feet, I managed to make a crucial birdie at the 15th before then knocking an 8-iron to three feet under the hole for a 2 at the next."
With O'Hara dropping a shot there, Kelly was virtually home and dry, rounding off a brilliant performance by two-putting the last for a closing birdie.
O'Hara, who also signed off with a 4, finished with a 68 to share second spot with the fast-finishing Robert Arnott - the Bishopbriggs Golf Range man closed with a 64 - and Newmachar's Greg McBain (66).
"After getting off to a flyer with my 63, it was just a case of not trying to make a mess of things," added Kelly, who picked up a cheque for £9,500.
O'Hara's performance saw him clinch the Scottish Region Order of Merit title for the first time, but the 30-year-old was disappointed with his final round of the season on the circuit.
"I was rubbish today, really," said the North Lanarkshire Leisure-attached player. "I thought I had a chance when I got within two shots, but Chris played some terrific golf in the last four holes."
In benign conditions at the Perthshire resort, Grantown-on-Spey's Gavin Hay and Chris Doak (Renaissance Club) both closed with superb eight-under-par 62s.
Just two shots outside the course record held by Englishman Paul Curry, the efforts lifted the duo into a share of eighth on eight-under.
Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) joined in the low scoring with a 63, while Arnott's 64 was matched by McKechnie (Braid Hills Golf Centre).
The North-east's Kris Nicol (Dunes Golf Centre) finished as the leading young professional on five-under, having already been crowned as the Scottish Young Pros' champion earlier in the season.
Meanwhile, Hay, Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo) and Gareth Wright (West Linton) secured the three spots up for grabs in the upcoming PGA Play-Offs at Walton Heath off the Order of Merit.
O'Hara and Caldwell's Chris Currie had already secured exemptions for the end-of-season event involving players from all seven of the PGA Regions through their performances in the Titleist and Footjoy PGA Professional Championship earlier in the year.

par 210 (3x70)


R1R2R3TotalPointsPrize Fund 
1Scotland Chris Kelly
  Stirling Golf Club
T2Scotland Robert Arnott
  Bishopbriggs Golf Range
T2Scotland Greg McBain
  Newmachar Golf Club
T2Scotland Paul O'Hara
  North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd
5Scotland Neil Fenwick
  Dunbar Golf Club
6Scotland Greig Hutcheon
  Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchmarlo
7Scotland Graham Fox
  Clydeway Golf
T8Scotland Chris Doak
  Renaissance Club
T8Scotland Gavin Hay
  Grantown-on-Spey Golf Club
10Scotland Paul Robinson
  Largs Golf Club
T11Scotland Paul McKechnie
  Braid Hills Golf Range
T11Scotland Kris Nicol
  Dunes Golf Centre
T11Scotland Ross Cameron-4FE747066210117.50£1,056.67
T11Scotland Ross Leeds
  Archerfield Links
T11Scotland Thomas Higson
  Gleneagles Hotel Golf Courses
T11Scotland Cameron Marr
  Musselburgh Golf Club
T17Scotland Alastair Forsyth
  Mearns Castle Golf Academy
T17Wales Gareth Wright
  West Linton Golf Club
T19Scotland James McGhee
  Swanston New Golf Club
T19Scotland Steven O'Hara
  North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd
T19Scotland Jamie Fraser
  The Clubs at Houston Oaks
T19Scotland Paul Wardell
  North Berwick Golf Club
T23Scotland Craig Ronald
  Carluke Golf Club
T23Scotland Christopher Currie
  Caldwell Golf Club
T23Scotland Jackson Bell
  Lanark Golf Club
T23Scotland Graeme Brown
  Montrose Golf Links Ltd.
27Scotland Lee Vannet
  Craibstone Golf Centre
T28Scotland Stephen Gray
  Lanark Golf Club
T28England Jonathan Lomas
  Caprington Golf Club
T28Scotland Jason McCreadie
  Largs Golf Club
31England Samuel Binning
  Mearns Castle Golf Academy
32Scotland Ross Munro
  Duddingston Golf Club
33Scotland Ross McConnachie
  Peterculter Golf Club



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