Paul O’Hara overcame the lack of a practice round to set the pace in the Scottish Young Professionals Championship at West Lothian.
“I played the course blind and that seemed to do the trick,” said the two-times Scottish Amateur Championship runner-up after signing for a six-under 65 to lead by two shots from Blairgowrie’s Sam McLaren.
O’Hara’s card was highlighted by an eagle-3 at the 12th and his flawless effort also contained four birdies. “I hit it great today and had chances at almost every hole,” added the 26-year-old, who was pleased with the ones he took but felt disappointed about missing a four-footer at the last.
His initial inspirations after turning pro were to join his older brother, Steven, on the European Tour but Paul is now doing his PGA training at Clydeway Golf after re-adjusting his sights. “I’m quite happy playing in Scotland at the moment,” declared O’Hara, who has a five- and seven-shot cushion respectively over title favourites Neil Fenwick and Keir McNicoll.
It was an eventful day for Prestonfield’s Colin Robinson. He was held up en route to the course by an accident in Edinburgh and incurred a two-shot penalty for turning up late but still shot a 71 to sit joint 10th.