Louis Gaughan claims first pro victory in Scottish Par 3

Louis Gaughan, the latest promising player to roll off Bathgate's conveyor belt of talent, recorded his first outright professional win in style by hitting an 8-iron to four feet to beat Alastair Forsyth in a play-off in the £16,000 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Par 3 Championship.

Louis Gaughan shows his prize after winning the Scottish Par-3 Championship..

”It was a great yardage into the wind,” said the 23-year-old of his majestic blow at the 
160-yard ninth hole on the Devenick Course at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre on the outskirts of Aberdeen, where Gaughan posted rounds of 53 and 51 for a four-under total.

Four behind Forsyth at the halfway stage, he had drawn level with the two-time European Tour winner after starting his final circuit on the nine-hole layout with three straight birdies only to fear his title hopes had disappeared after then dropping two shots in the final five holes.

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However, after Forsyth had let shots slip away at both the 13th and 16th and was then ubable to convert a ten-footer at the last for the victory, Gaughan grabbed an unexpected second bite at the cherry with both hands with his title-winning birdie-2 at the first extra hole.

“It is brilliant,” said Gaughan, who picked up a cheque for £3,250, of joining Eric Brown, Bernard Gallacher and Stephen Gallacher on Bathgate’s list of professional winners. “I didn’t think I had any chance of winning over the last couple of days, so it’s a bit of a surprise.”

Gaughan, who is coached by Alan McCloskey and received a valuable putting lesson recently from the Bothwell Castle pro, celebrated his success by jumping straight in the car to make a near 500-mile journey to Collingtree Park in Northamptonshire for the start of a PGA EuroPro Tour event today. “I guess this makes the journey a bit more bearable,” he added, smiling.

While disappointed to miss out on the top prize after having his nose in front for so long, Forsyth, a class act, heaped praise on the winner. “Louis hit a great shot in the play-off,” admitted the 41-year-old, who felt the only difference in his two rounds had been on the greens. “I played okay but I just didn’t get the putter going,” added Forsyth.

Paul Lawrie, the tournament host, carded the best score on the second day – a five-under 49 – as he tied for third on three under with Gareth Wright, Paul O’Hara, David Law and Greig Hutcheon. “Unlike yesterday, I didn’t have either a sore back or sore feet and, when that’s the case, I still feel I can compete,” said the former Open champion.

Rightly so, Lawrie was delighted with the event’s overall success. “All the players have said they didn’t realise we had a proper golf course here and not a pitch and putt - and that’s what we wanted to achieve this week,” he added.

Leading final totals

(Par 54)

104 Louis Gaughan 53 51; Alastair Forsyth 49 55 (Gaughan won at first extra hole)

105 Paul Lawrie 56 49; David Law 54 5h1; Greig Hutcheon 53 52; Gareth Wright 51 54; Paul O’Hara 50 55

106 Ryan Campbell 56 50; Gavin Hay 54 52; Peter Whiteford 53 53