NINE shots behind after the first round and still four adrift heading into the final day, Banchory’s Greig Hutcheon added an astonishing Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship victory to his impressive Tartan Tour title haul following a dramatic conclusion on the King’s Course.
Helped by a bad start from overnight leader Gareth Wright – the West Linton player three-putted the first then ran up a double-bogey 6 after having to take a penalty drop through the back of the second green – Hutcheon only had to wait three holes to find himself sharing top spot in the race for a £9,000 first prize.
“That changed the dynamic of the day,” said the Tartan Tour No 1, who admitted he’d enjoyed a stroke of luck when a wayward tee shot at the 13th had gone unpunished before then opening up a two-shot cushion with back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th.
Feeling he was “due to hole a putt”, Wright was proved correct in a thrilling 72nd-green climax. Both around 25 feet away in two, Hutcheon rolled his effort five feet past while Wright’s dropped for an eagle – his third there in three rounds.
“After I’d left myself with a testing one, I thought, ‘Crikey, Gareth is due one’ and I knew from halfway it was going in. Suddenly, mine seemed a lot longer but, thankfully, it went in,” added Hutcheon after closing with a 66 for a 17-under-par total of 267.
It was his second success in the Tartan Tour’s flagship event, although in 1999 he claimed the title as the leading Scot, finishing six shots behind winner Warren Bennett, when the event was on the European Tour schedule and played over the neighbouring PGA Centenary Course.
“I won it without really knowing on that occasion, so this feels a lot different and I’m really chuffed,” said the 40-year-old, who has topped the Order of Merit four times in the last seven years.
Wright, who finished five shots ahead of third-placed Jason McCreadie after a closing 71, expressed “disappointment” but added: “Greig putted well all day and shot under par to beat me.”