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Superb Gareth is made of Wright stuff

West Linton pro denies O’Hara to win the 100th anniversary edition of Scottish PGA Championship at Gleneagles

By SCG Newsdesk

Gareth Wright underlined his status as one of the top competitors on the Tartan Tour, by winning the Scottish PGA Championship for the second time in three years at Gleneagles.

The 34-year-old West Linton professional eagled the par-5 18th
on the King’s Course from six feet to beat Paul O’Hara in a play-off after the pair had tied on 16-under-par in the £50,000 M&H Logistics-sponsored event,

With closing 68s for 268 totals, Wright and O’Hara finished five shots clear of the field in Perthshire, where Louis Gaughan birdied the last to tie for third place with Greig Hutcheon
and Graham Fox after they’d both signed off with stirring 65s.

The victory in the Tartan Tour’s flagship tournament, which celebrated its centenary this year, earned Wright a £9,000 pay-day while, in addition to a runners-up cheque for £6,500, O’Hara secured a place in the PGA Play-Offs in Devon along with
Hutcheon and Fox.

ENTHRALLING

Locked together at the start of the day, Wright and O’Hara fought out an enthralling ding-dong battle in the final round and came to the 72nd hole still sharing the lead.

It was advantage Wright after the pair had hit their approaches but 30-year-old O’Hara, who is based at Lochview Golf Centre in Coatbridge through an attachment to North Lanarkshire Leisure, got down in two putts from fully 120 feet to make a birdie, which his title rival matched.

“I expected Paul to make his six-footer as he’d putted well
all day and is very good around the greens,” admitted Wright afterwards.

Returning to the same hole for the play-off, O’Hara, pictured left, was a lot closer in two and made birdie once more despite racing his first putt six feet past, but Wright had hit a majestic 6-iron from 201 yards to six feet and rolled it in for a title-winning eagle.

“We both played really good golf all day,” said the champion, who plays under the Welsh flag but lives in Edinburgh. “We didn’t set the world on fire, but it was good, sensible golf and a good game between us.

CHERRY

“It’s been a very strange year for me as I’ve been playing my golf in lots of different places. In fact, I’ve probably only played in four or five Tartan Tour events.

“But this is a nice cherry on top of the cake at the end of the year and I love it up here - Gleneagles is one of my favourite places in the world.”

O’Hara, winner of both the P&H Championship and Scottish Young Professionals Championship earlier in the year, refused to be downbeat about being pipped for the top prize on this occasion.

“I’ve played solid over the four days and I’m pleased with my performance as I needed a good week to get into the PGA Play-Offs,” he said, having secured a trip to Saunton by finishing
in the top three in the ‘Road to Gleneagles’.

Helped by his strong finish, Hutcheon claimed that Order of Merit title by a narrow margin from O’Hara, who’d already secured the Scottish Young Professionals’ equivalent this season. The aforementioned Graham Fox finished in third place.

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