COMRIE’S Wallace Booth refused to be downhearted despite a late lapse costing him a share of the lead after the first round of the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour Championship at Woburn.
Fresh from his success in reaching the final stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Girona at the end of the month, Booth raced to the turn in 31, five-under, on the Marquess’ Course at the Buckinghamshire venue. But he dropped three shots in the next seven holes, birdieing the par-3 seventh before finishing with a double-bogey six for a one-under 71. It earned him a share of seventh spot, two behind pacesetter Paul Maddy.
“I’m disappointed to finish in that way but I’m only two behind and gained a lot of confidence from how I played on the front nine,” said Booth, who is trying to protect his fifth position on the second-tier circuit’s money-list as that would secure him a Challenge Tour card for next season.
Archerfield’s Elliot Saltman, lying a spot behind his compatriot and chasing the same goal in the season-ending event, also opened with a 71, as did Grantown-on-Spey’s Duncan Stewart, who has already secured his step up as he’s guaranteed a top-five finish on that money list.
It was an encouraging opening day all round for the five-strong Scottish contingent in the 54-hole event. Former Scottish Boys’ champion Paul Doherty is in a five-strong group tied for second after a 70, while Cawder’s Chris Kelly also occupies a top-15 spot after he opened with a 72.
Englishman Maddy, who won an event at Wychwood Park earlier in the year, is third on the money list and a victory in this event would see him leap above both Stewart and the current leader, Welshman Stuart Manley.