Greig Hutcheon is heading into hibernation a happy man. A £9,000 cheque, his prize for claiming a third victory in the M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship at Gleneagles will see him through a period of inactivity as the Tartan Tour goes into its traditional shutdown.
“The £9,000 is nice,” he admitted. “It’s a long winter when you’re a pro in Scotland.”
The 45-year-old, who is attached to Paul Lawrie Golf Centre on the outskirts of Aberdeen, added to earlier title triumphs in the Tartan Tour’s flagship event by holding off a two-pronged challenge from the O’Hara brothers – Paul and Steven – on a thrilling final day on the King’s Course.
Hutcheon, who had surged to the top of the leaderboard on the back of a brilliant 63 in the second round on Tuesday, pipped the siblings by a shot after closing with a 68 for a 12-under-par 270 total. Paul, the younger of the talented pair at 32, signed off with a 69 while Steven catapulted himself into a share of second with a best-of-the-day 63.
“This possibly feels better than the first two,” said Hutcheon, a three-time Challenge Tour winner before making the PGA in Scotland circuit his main workplace. “I’m 46 in March and to come back from thinking my body is giving up and shoot 12-under for four days gives me hope. I’m pretty chuffed.”
The key moment in Hutcheon securing that pay-day came at the driveable par-4 14th, where Paul, his playing partner, suffered an unfortunate break as his tee shot stuck up on the back at the right of the green. From there, he dropped a shot while Hutcheon made a birdie to give him a cushion over the closing holes.
“I played nicely,” added Hutcheon, a Banchory man. “I felt like I was in control and kept it steady. Paul got unlucky on 14. He hit a perfect drive down the right and, instead of kicking in it just stuck. The two-swing there helped me.”
O’Hara jnr, winner of the Northern Open earlier in the year, and former European Tour player Steven each picked up £5,500 for sharing second spot. “Fourteen was unlucky and it just got stuck in thick rough,” said Paul. “It was the worst lie possible. That’s a birdie hole so a bogey felt like a double bogey.
“I tried to give it a go on the last and my drive was 310 through the air. I knocked a 7-iron on to 25 feet and I thought when the putt was halfway it was in. But it just missed on the left.”
Steven closed with a best-of-the-day 63, bagging birdies at the 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 18th as he stormed home in 30. “That’s probably my best score of the season,” said the 38-year-old, who played on the same Walker Cup team as Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell in 2001 before holding a European Tour card for a number of years.
“I’ve had a really good second half to the season and that started almost to the day that I went to see Kenny Monaghan, the PGA pro at Stirling. “I’ve seen the best putting gurus in the world in the past, including Phil Kenyon, Harold Swash and Paul Hurrion, while I’ve also tried every method and grip.
“Kenny has changed everything – my alignment, angle of attack, launch of the ball - and I’ve started to hole putts, something that was my Achilles in the past. I knew I was not a great putter, but I never knew why or how to fix it.”
Chris Currie ran up up a triple-bogey 7 at the first after a lost ball but bounced back to salvage a 69 to share fourth spot with Paul McKechnie (67).