Former Walker Cup player Jack McDonald marked his return from an injury lay-off in style by carding a 66 in the opening round of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s FORE Business Championship at The Oxfordshire.
The six-under-par effort nestled the Ayrshireman into second spot, a shot behind Englishman Matt Cort in the £46,735 event.
McDonald, who made his score by racing to the turn in 30 helped by an eagle at the par-5 seventh, hasn’t played since the Turkish Airlines Challenge in early May due to a wrist injury.
“It was only last week that I was able to hit balls again so I’m gradually getting back into it,” said McDonald, who joined Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in the ISM stable after deciding to turn professional earlier in the year.
“It’s been frustrating to miss three months of the season because I had lots of good tournaments lined up and it was a pity to miss them.
“But it’s good to be back playing and hopefully I can get some good results as I see how my game is leading into the Tour Schools.”
Recovering well after finding himself one-over early on, Callum Macaulay opened with a three-under-par 69 to sit in a share of 13th in the 54-hole event.
Paul O’Hara underlined his status as the growing force on the Tartan Tour by storming to an eight-shot success in claiming the Scottish Young Professionals Championship for the third time in four years at West Lothian.
The 29-year-old closed with rounds of 63 and 68 for a 21-under-par total, turning the last day into a procession as he added to victories in 2013 and 2015, with a play-off defeat sandwiched in between.
“I’m delighted because there were a lot of good players in the field this week, including two former European Tour players in Alastair Forsyth and my big brother, Steven,” said O’Hara.
Five ahead at the halfway stage, the North Lanarkshire Leisure-attached player stretched his advantage to seven shots following a flawless eight-under-par morning effort before coasting home with a closing effort that contained six birdies.
“I’ve been playing well recently and it’s nice to add a win to some second and third-place finishes,” added O’Hara, who has been reinvigorated since he entered the PGA programme.
This win added to his P&H Championship triumph at The Renaissance Club earlier in the year and now his aim is to secure a top-three finish on the Tartan Tour Order of Merit.
“That’s the goal I set with my coach, David Orr, last winter as it would get me into the PGA Play-Offs at Saunton later in the year, which would give me a chance to secure a couple of European Tour starts next season,” he said.
Forsyth, a two-time European Tour winner, was best of the rest on 271, four shots clear of third-placed Gavin Hay, the man who pipped O’Hara two years ago.
Scot Murray White is on course to claim an unprecedented hat-trick of wins in the PGA Super 60s Championship.
Partnered by amateur Bob Head, White, who represents the Centurion Golf Club in St Albans, shares the lead at the halfway stage at Gleneagles.
It followed the pair signing for an opening seven-under-par 61 on the Queen’s Course to sit alongside English pro Robert Cameron and his partner, Gordon Hedley.
Also in the title hunt is former Glenbervie pro John Chillas, who sits in a share of fourth after carding a 64 with Sandy Quinn.