Jordan Brown uses local knowledge to lead Scottish PGA at Scotscraig
The 29-year-old, who is a teaching professional at the Drumoig Golf Centre but also works at this week’s host venue, posted a delightfully assembled seven-under 64 to lead by two shots from Graeme Robertson.
Out in the very first group of the morning, Brown harnessed the tricky conditions and reeled of a stream of steady pars before upping the ante around the turn. Three birdies in a row from the ninth was the prelude to a terrific late thrust and he birdied four of his last five holes to set a robust standard.
“It’s my best round ever,” said Brown with a grin that could have spanned the River Tay. “I know this course so well and know where to hit it and where not to hit it. I was sensible off the tee and if you can keep it in play, there is a score to be had here.”
Brown’s finishing flourish was capped by a cracking drive down the last and a chip to four feet for a closing birdie. “My boss, Stuart Syme, always used to say to me, ‘it doesn’t matter how you’re playing or where you’re playing, always go with the intention of birdieing the last hole’,” he added.
“Connor is like my wee brother,” added Brown. “He plays at a totally different level but the standard he sets is something for me to aim for. He’s a good guy to pick the brain of when it comes to golf.”
Robertson, who illuminated his golfing summer by qualifying for The Open at Hoylake, tucked himself into second place with a tidy 66 which included a triple whammy of birdies at 14, 15 and 16.
“The wind made it tricky so I tried to keep it steady on the front nine, plot my way round and then try to make a score on the back nine,” said Robertson, who made gains at the ninth and 10th to ignite his assault. “It all went to plan.”
Ryan Johnston, the Dumfries & County pro, eagled the ninth in a four-under 67 to sit in third but Alastair Forsyth, the defending champion, was left cursing a late stumble as he dropped back into a posse on three-under.
The 47-year-old had manoeuvred himself to the five-under mark thanks to an eagle on the 16th but the two-time DP World Tour champion sagged to bogeys at 17 and 18 and had to settle for a 68.
Others on that mark included the Panmure veteran Andrew Crerar, who rolled back the years with a classy display which featured four birdies on his closing five holes.
Craig Lee, who has been runner-up in four Scottish PGA Championships down the seasons, also finished in the upper reaches with a steady 68.
Paul O’Hara, the Scottish champion in 2019 and last year’s runner-up, opened with a 69 while the 2021 winner, Graham Fox, had a 70.
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