Suther­land surge is the per­fect pick-me-up

The Herald - Herald Sport - - GOLF - NICK RODGER

GREIG HUTCHEON’S un­wa­ver­ing com­pet­i­tive in­stincts were high­lighted again at Royal Dornoch yes­ter­day as the Tar­tan Tour stal­wart surged to a six-shot vic­tory in the North­ern Open.

The 43-year-old, who cap­tured one of Scot­tish pro­fes­sional golf’s old­est titles back in 2010 when the event was short­ened to 36 holes due to bad weather, won over the full dis­tance this time as he closed with a four-un­der 66 for a 13-un­der ag­gre­gate of 267.

Hutcheon, who led by three strokes overnight, coasted over the fin­ish­ing line with a bo­gey-free round and fin­ished ahead of the de­fend­ing cham­pion, Chris Kelly, with Greg McBain two shots fur­ther back in third.

Three weeks ago, Hutcheon was sit­ting on the fringes of the top 20 head­ing into the fi­nal round of the Euro­pean Tour’s BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship at Went­worth and was on course for the big­gest pay day of his long ca­reer un­til he slith­ered back­wards with a clos­ing 82.

This surge to suc­cess in Suther­land was a per­fect pick-me-up. “I’ve had a fan­tas­tic week and it’s one of my best four-round to­tals,” said the for­mer Scot­tish PGA cham­pion and three-time Chal­lenge Tour win­ner.

“I had a tough day in the last round at Went­worth, so it was re­ally good to go out there and shoot 66 to win the tour­na­ment.”

Hutcheon, who has been the dom­i­nant force on the Tar­tan Tour over the past few years, earned the prize as well as the plau­dits from those who were try­ing to reel him in.

“I can’t com­plain about sec­ond place,” said Kelly, who was aim­ing to be­come the first player in more than 20 years to claim back-to-back titles. “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Hutch, who was on a dif­fer­ent level this week. He played flaw­less golf, as he did in all four rounds, so hats off to him.”

Kelly closed with a 69 for his sev­e­nun­der tally while for­mer Euro­pean Tour win­ner, Alas­tair Forsyth, also signed off with a 69 to claim a share of sixth on a one-un­der 279.

One of the best rounds of the day was pro­duced by Heather MacRae, the sole woman in the field, who zipped round in 66 to share 22nd.

FULL DIS­TANCE: Greig Hutcheon

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