No longer a case of weight and see for Saltman
YOU are what you eat and if you want to dine at the top table of golf then you often have to make some decisive dietary decisions.
Unlike the gluttonous scribes, who have managed to discover a meal between breakfast and brunch, Elliot Saltman has shown a tad more discipline when it comes to flinging various foodstuffs down his thrapple. At 6ft 5in and with the kind of powerful build that military tanks are modelled on, it takes a brave man to pose a question to him about his weight but a five-under 66 in the opening round of the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at Macdonald Spey Valley showed that the 33-year-old is a leaner, meaner golfing machine.
“I have lost a bit of weight, thank you,” said a smiling Saltman after finishing two strokes behind early pacesetter, Gary Boyd. “I was on the five-two diet and I do feel a lot better for it. Being that bit fitter all round helps, particularly when you are doing a lot of travelling about on tour.”
Saltman, who once won his body weight in Spanish ham for a hole-in-one at the Madrid Masters, tasted the fine fare on offer on the main European Tour in 2011, having come through the qualifying school the previous winter. He has dropped back down the pecking order in the years that have followed but victory in the third-tier PGA EuroPro Tour’s grand final in Egypt last season clinched his promotion back to the Challenge Tour. A win here on Scottish soil would do wonders for his hopes of making another step up and a tidy round, burnished by six birdies, aided his assault.
“I feel I’m good enough to win,” added the Scot, who is down in 84th spot on the Challenge Tour rankings.
“I’ve been making enough cuts this season but not doing much on the weekends.
“Par scores don’t do much at this level.”
Frontrunner Boyd finished 50th on the European Tour order of merit in 2010 but has spiralled down the golfing ranks since then. Having hit rock bottom, the 28-year-old is now in the midst of a spirited salvage operation.
A second and a fifth on the Challenge Tour in recent weeks have provided welcome signs of recovery and an eightbirdie 64 yesterday, illuminated by a monstrous putt of 45-feet on the sixth, kept him moving in the right direction.
Boyd has also been aided by encouraging words from his good friend Ian Poulter, as well as the world No 8 Henrik Stenson, who endured a major slump in form before rising back into the upper echelons. “I’ve had two-and-ahalf years of playing rubbish,” said Boyd, who was leading by one from Maarten Lafeber, Jose Filipe Lima and Prom Meesawat. “After losing my card in 2012, I was as the lowest point and I was asking myself, ‘What am I going to do now?’
“Speaking to Henrik, someone who has had a couple of form slumps, was good for me. We had a good chat and he said that he had evaluated everything in his game and his life and changed certain things. I’ve tried to do the same.”
K ilmar nock’s Jack Doher t y, bedridden for the last couple of days with a stomach bug, put some colour back in his cheeks with a three-under 68 and was joined on that mark by Jamie McLeary, the 2009 Scottish Hydro winner, and Motherwell’s Ross Kellett, who chipped in from 25 yards on the 13th, his second, for an eagle.
Bradley Neil’s first card as a professional was a three-over 74 and the Blairgowrie teenager is facing a scrap to make the halfway cut.
EARNING HIS SALT: Elliot Saltman finished among the leaders in Aviemore