THE cream of Scottish professionals took on the golfing gem that is West Linton Golf Course as they battled it out in the St Andrews Brewing Company-sponsored Scottish PGA Order of Merit Event last week.

West Linton Golf Club was chosen to host this event, affording the opportunity to showcase their wonderful course to Scotland’s top professionals, many who were playing the track for the first time.

All the participating players were very favourable of the course, with a number taking to social media to offer their positive comments.

The tournament was at the mercy of the weather and as a result of persistent heavy rain play on the first day was delayed by three hours and resulted in a two tee start.

Scoring was quite tough with Gareth Wright, West Linton Golf Club’s professional carding a 67 and was one of only 14 players to break par. However the elements on Monday did nothing to stop Paul O’Hara, representing North Lanark Leisure Ltd, setting a new course record when he carded an outstanding 62.

Thankfully, although over an inch of rain fell overnight, play on Tuesday commenced on schedule, with the players teeing off in relation to how they had scored the previous day. That meant Gareth Wright was in the penultimate group which also contained a player with many seasons experience on the full European Tour, Alistair Forsyth (Mearns Castle Golf Academy) and one of Scotland’s most consistent Golf Professionals, Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf)[pictured together]. The last group contained Paul O’Hara, Greg Paxton (Ralston Golf Centre) and Neil Fenwick (Dunbar Golf Club).

With the weather more favourable than the previous day, the second day’s play saw better scoring with 20 players breaking par.

Gavin Hay from Boat of Garten Golf Club shot a very impressive 63 to secure runners up spot with Alistair Forsyth carding a respectable 66 to go with his previous day’s 67 to finish third.

Paul O’Hara was, however, always going to be difficult to catch after opening with the new course record 62 and his steady golf ensured he carded a 67 for a total of 129 to win by 2 shots and take the first prize of £1,063.

The Scottish PGA viewed the event as a success with tournament director, Glenn McPhee, indicating a return in 2018.

Gareth Wright was pleased that all the hard work behind the scenes had proved fruitful.

He stated: "Although the course, due to unusual weather conditions in early spring, was slow to see the benefits of the hard work undertaken by the greenkeeping staff, recent conditions have meant that the course is in fabulous condition and should be very much enjoyed by our members and visitors alike."

Ben Wallace, marketing and sales manager for St Andrews Brewing Company, presented Paul O’Hara with his winner’s cheque.

Paul made a brief acceptance speech in which he made many positive comments about the organisation and running of the event, in particular taking time to praise the greenkeeping staff and to the club for being so welcoming and hospitable to all participants in the event.

Club captain Paul Drury echoed his comments. He said: “West Linton Golf Course is currently in top condition with the greens running true and fast and certainly worthy of its status as a championship course.

"It has been a pleasure to host the Scottish PGA Event and we look forward to them returning in 2018.

"I congratulate Paul O’Hara on his fine win and now holder of the new Course Record and I wish to place on record my gratitude to all the staff and volunteers of West Linton Golf Club whose hard work and devotion ensured the event ran smoothly.”

Vice-Captain Malcolm Ilganus, who acted as an official starter, added: “I was immensely proud to be announcing the players on the first tee and watching a number of household names hit their tee-shots.

"Our golf course is in fantastic condition and proved to be a stern, but fair, test for these professional golfers.

"I hope Paul O’Hara is able to return to West Linton in 2018 to defend his title.”

*In addition to the Scottish PGA Event, West Linton Golf Club was also highlighted in the LET Access series, the official development tour to the Ladies European Tour, when their touring professional Jane Turner won the Bossey Ladies Championship at the Bossey Golf and Country Club in Switzerland.

Jane is a former Ladies Champion at West Linton Golf Club and learned her trade on the moor.