Gavin Hay wins Montrose Links Masters with Alan McCloskey's help

Gavin Hay felt “quietly confident” that swing guru Alan McCloskey had put him on the right track over the winter and he was proved right in the opening event of the 2021 Tartan Pro Tour.

Gavin Hay celebrates his win in the Montrose Links Masters, the opening event of the 2021 Tartan Pro Tour. Picture: Tartan Pro Tour
Gavin Hay celebrates his win in the Montrose Links Masters, the opening event of the 2021 Tartan Pro Tour. Picture: Tartan Pro Tour

Producing one of the best efforts in the circuit’s short history, the 29-year-old carded a brilliant seven-under 64 as the later starters in the second round of the Montrose Links Masters faced a strengthening wind and dropping temperature.

That gave Hay, who hails from Grantown-on-Spey but now lives in the Glasgow area, an eight-under total in the 36-hole event, winning by two shots from Paul O’Hara (69-67).

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Tour founder Paul Lawrie who had started the day a shot off the leading following a 67 on Thursday, finished joint-third in a group on three-under along with his nephew Sean, but the day belonged to Hay.

“I’m delighted as I’m a teaching professional at East Renfrewshire and have been pretty busy coaching, so to beat the quality of the players in this event was really pleasing,” he said of a success worth £4,100.

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“Montrose suits my game. I have always played in the pro-am there and I know the course very well. If you plot your round it, then you have a chance to score well. I hit some nice approaches into the greens day and had a great day on the greens.

“It’s one of those courses where there are holes you can take advantage of and I managed to do that. I also played the tough holes very well, including the 17th, where I hit a 4-iron to three feet for a birdie - that was a real bonus.”

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Hay had earlier birdied the second, sixth, seventh, 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th before dropping his sole shot at the 16th, but then bouncing back in style with his 3 at the penultimate hole.

“At the end of last season, I started working with Alan McCloskey and, over the winter, I really started feeling good, so I was quietly confident that my game was in a good place and it was great that it held up in a competitive environment.

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“I had a great season in 2014 and a fantastic one in 2017, so I know that my game can be very good. It’s about trying to get some consistency and I need to push on from here.”

The Barassie Links Masters on Monday and Tuesday is next up on the 12-event schedule, quickly followed by the Royal Dornoch Masters.

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“I have entered all the events and it is brilliant what Paul has done with all the great courses and sponsors,” said Hay. “It is good for me testing myself against the best home-based players in Scotland.”

O’Hara carded an eagle and three birdies as he raced to the turn in 31 before seeing his hopes of matching Hay’s total dashed by a double-bogey at the 17th before signing off with a birdie-3.

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Paul Lawrie also dropped two shots at the penultimate hole in his 72, two more than nephew Sean, while Robbie Morrison (68) and Danny Kay (69) also finished on three-under.

Overnight leader Jack Doherty ended up in a tie for 15th following a 79 - 13 shots more than his opening effort.

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