Paul O'Hara off to winning start on Tartan Tour with Stirling success

Paul O’Hara finished with three straight birdies at Stirling to make a winning start in his bid to regain the Tartan Tour Order of Merit title.

Paul O'Hara, pictured playing on the Clutch Pro Tour last year won the Stirling 36-Hole Order of Merit event on the Tartan Tour. Picture: Naomi Baker/Getty Images.
Paul O'Hara, pictured playing on the Clutch Pro Tour last year won the Stirling 36-Hole Order of Merit event on the Tartan Tour. Picture: Naomi Baker/Getty Images.

The late burst earned O’Hara, who lost his crown to Tom Higson last year, a two-shot victory over Neil Fewick in the first counting event on this season’s Arnold Clark-sponsored PGA in Scotland circuit.

O’Hara, who topped the Order of Merit three years out of four from 2016, posted rounds of 69 and 66 for a nine-under-par total, earning £1,100 for his efforts.

Playing in one of the groups ahead, Fenwick finished in style with an eagle-3 as he followed an opening 70 with a 67, but O’Hara wasn’t to be denied.

“I knew standing on the 17th fairway that Neil had finished on seven-under and hit my approach there to about two-and-a-half feet,” said O’Hara, who is attached to North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd.

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“I then nailed my drive at the last, leaving myself just 155 yards and hit a 9-iron on to the left side of the green.

“It is brilliant to get a win under my belt in the first event, especially as it can take a while to get back into the competitive stuff.”

O’Hara finished second to Gavin Hay in the Montrose Links Masters, the opening event on Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Pro Tour, at the end of last week before having to settle for a share of 18th in the Barassie Links Masters on that circuit earlier this week.

He is also aiming to play a few events on the PGA EuroPro Tour when it starts up later in the year and is hoping for a big season.

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“I’ve been playing quite steady and I’m happy with the start to the season,” said O’Hara, who had earlier birdied the first, second and fifth before dropping his only shot of day at ninth but getting that shot back at the 13th.

“I’ve got a new driver, new irons and new ball in the bag and the new driver is giving me extra distance if I need it.”

Hay who carded four birdies in a bogey-free second-round 68, shared third spot with Murrayfield’s Jonnie Cliff on six-under.

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