Storm Ophelia is set to have a hand in the M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship, with today’s opening round on the King’s Course at Gleneagles likely to be a real battle in Perthshire.
Winds of up to 70mph are forecast for what is being dubbed “Mayhem Monday”, meaning the 66 competitors in the Tartan Tour’s flagship event are in for one of the toughest tests of the season on the Scottish circuit.
How difficult that exam will be is likely to be determined in the very first match as it features Gareth Wright, the defending champion and a man on form heading into the 72-hole tournament worth an increased £53,000 this year.
The West Linton pro eagled the first extra hole 12 months ago to beat Paul O’Hara in a play-off as he claimed the title for the second time in three years.
Now Wright is relishing an opportunity to become the first man since Ross Drummond in 1989-90 to win the event back-to-back and has certainly hit a rich vein of form in the build-up to the season-ending tournament.
The Edinburgh-based Welshman won the P&H Championship outright at The Renaissance Club before figuring in a four-way share of top spot in the Highland Golf Links Pro-Am at Castle Stuart, Nairn and Royal Dornoch. He then returned to The Renaissance Club last week to win the Big Johnston’s Tour Golf Finance Invitational.
“It is very encouraging heading into the event on the back of some good performances, so I will be looking forward to pegging up on Monday,” admitted the title holder.
O’Hara, who won both the Northern Open and Titleist & Footjoy PGA Professional Championship earlier in the year, leads the Order of Merit title race from Greig Hutcheon and Wright heading into the final counting event.
“Winning next week would certainly round off a great season,” admitted O’Hara, who is attached to North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd. “There are so many experienced and great players on form so it won’t be easy, but I have a good scoring record on the King’s Course.”