Local lad Latimer delighted to win East of Scotland Open

PETER Latimer, a 22-year-old who has been a member of the host club for a decade, proved a popular winner of the Solarsport East of Scotland Open over a fast-running Lundin links yesterday.

A brace of 66s in the final two rounds gave Latimer, who lives in Markinch but has spent the last four years at college in America, a 14-under-par aggregate of 270 and a seven-shot victory in the Scottish order of merit event.

The success came two years after Latimer had lost in a play-off to Australian Rohan Blizzard in the same tournament and, even though his home club is now St Andrews New, he admitted the biggest win of his career couldn't have come at a better place. "I've been a member at Lundin since I was 12 and to record such a win here is fantastic," said Latimer, who feels his game has come on enormously thanks to his spell at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. "I was off one when I went and wasn't even good enough to get into an event like this," he added.

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Five behind at the halfway stage, Latimer, who had secured top-ten finishes in both the Scottish Stroke Play and Tennant Cup since returning from the US, was still three shots off the pace going into the final round, which he started with a double-bogey after duffing his second from a divot into a bunker.

He also dropped two shots later in the round at the 12th but eight birdies and an eagle – he drove the 17th and holed from six feet – secured a sweet success. "I thought I had blown it after my double-bogey at the 12th but something obviously happened (in the groups] behind," said Latimer. It did indeed. Leven Golfing Society's Brian Soutar, who had led the event since an opening 64 before adding scores of 69 and 68, saw his hopes disappear after running up a quadruple-bogey 8 at the tenth, where he had both a penalty drop and a lost ball.

He eventually signed for a costly 79 to finish fourth on 280 as another Fifer, Aberdour's Scott Crichton, claimed second spot after a closing 72.