Paul prolongs his purple patch with victory at Luttrellstown Castle GC
By SCG Newsdesk
PAUL O’HARA recovered from a slow start to his final round to win the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship at Luttrellstown Castle, continuing his remarkable season.
Sharing pole position with fellow Scot Christopher Currie and England’s Christopher McDonnell on one-under-par, O’Hara made a stuttering start to the last round.
Bogeys at the first two of the par-3s appeared to have handed the initiative to a posse of high-class rivals including his co-leaders and former European Tour players Phillip Archer, Andrew Raitt and Garry Houston.
However, the 30-year-old from North Lanarkshire Leisure moved into overdrive as the turn approached.
The last three holes of the front nine were birdied and parred the tenth before picking up two more shots at the 11th and 12th.
Conversely, Currie, who arrived at the seventh hole three shots clear of his compatriot, bogeyed the ninth and tenth, and with the rest of the challengers seemingly becalmed, all O’Hara needed to do was hold his nerve.
He did so admirably to seal victory in the PGA’s flagship tournament hot on the heels of his victory in the Northern Open a week earlier.
“That’s back-to-back wins so I’m very pleased with that,” said O’Hara. “I played well after a bad start and the birdies won it for me. Chris was a couple under and I took a while to get going. But once I holed a couple of putts for birdies that it was it. After that, it was a case of going for two-putt pars.”
As well as the Northern Open, which he won by an emphatic seven shots from Paul McKechnie, Gavin Hay and Greg McBain, O’Hara equalled the course record at Bishopbriggs en route to victory in the club’s pro-am, having earlier clipped two strokes off John Greaves’ 20-year-old Largs course record, carding a 61 to win there.
“I’m really enjoying myself at the moment as I’m teaching as well as playing,” added the North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd-attached player.
O’Hara’s joy at Luttrellstown Castle was in stark contrast to the disappointment of Currie, who was left to lament what might have been.
“It wasn’t my best ball-striking week, it was more a grind to be honest,” he admitted. “I had a good putting week and drove the ball well, keeping it in play.
“It was a very difficult golf course that doesn’t really give you much. You’ve got to just hang in there and grind away. But it was a pleasing week and Paul O’Hara is a worthy winner.”
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Nairn Dunbar will host next year’s Northern Open for the first time in almost 20 years.
Scotland’s top home-based pros will contest the event there from June 5-8.
It will be the tournament’s fourth visit to the course. Colin Brooks won there in 1990, followed by Kevin Stables three years later and, most recently, Alastair Forsyth in 1999.