IT WAS significant that Paul Lawrie picked Ross Kellett to become the first player from outside the North-East to become part of the stable of Scottish golfers attached to the Aberdonian’s golf centre on the outskirts of the Granite City.
The 1999 Open champion clearly saw something in the Motherwell man that he liked and, slowly but surely, Kellett is edging his way to vindicating Lawrie’s belief in him. Finishing as the leading home player in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore was proof that the 27-year-old is finding his feet on the second-tier circuit second time around.
“It’s been a good week and another good haul of ranking points,” he admitted after signing off with a 71 for eight-under 276, finishing two shots ahead of both Elliot Saltman (70) and Andrew McArthur (74) in joint-13th. “It’s a long season and there’s plenty to still play for,” added Kellett. “I’ve got three weeks on the spin now, in Germany, Slovakia and Tenerife, so hopefully we can keep progressing.
“There were a lot of good golfers playing here and a lot of good Scottish ones, so to finish as the best Scot is something to be proud of. It’s another good result.”
A birdie at the penultimate hole, courtesy of a 9-iron to five feet, helped secure a third top-20 finish of the year. “It was tough today and you needed to be on the ball,” said Kellett. “I think the 12th was one of the toughest holes we’ve played all year. I don’t think we’ll play a tougher one. It’s the best I’ve been hitting it all year, so that’s encouraging and gives me confidence going forward.”
A closing 71 saw Craigielaw amateur Grant Forrest finish inside the top 50, just ahead of fellow East Lothian man Neil Henderson (The Renaissance).