12 Oct 18
Chris Kelly is playing down his chances of emulating some of the greats in Scottish golf by landing a fourth title triumph in the M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship from October 15-18.
The 41-year-old completed a hat-trick of wins when landing a surprise victory 12 months ago at Gleneagles, adding to his earlier successes in the Tartan Tour's flagship event at the same venue in 2003 and 2015.
One more victory and Kelly will join John Panton, Eric Brown, Bernard Gallacher, Sam Torrance and Ross Drummond in claiming the crown four times or more.
Panton and Brown share the record with eight wins while Gallacher and Torrance both triumphed on five occasions. Drummond is the most recent to have racked up four victories between 1986 and 1990.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Kelly, who is attached to St Andrews-based Scotland for Golf, of his latest title defence on the King's Course at the Perthshire resort.
"I've not played at Gleneagles since the event last year, but I've heard from a couple of boys who played it recently that it is in really good condition.
"I've played there often enough that it's not going to have changed in any respect, I'd imagine, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I get on in this title defence, though I don't really have any great expectations."
Neither did he 12 months ago but, after opening with a stunning 63 in testing conditions, Kelly went on to win by six shots with a 13-under-par total in an event reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather.
It was the biggest winning margin in the event since Kelly claimed his first title triumph by seven shots on the PGA Centenary Course 14 years earlier.
"I always think that if I start playing well in an event, I will keep generally play half decent until the end of it," he added. "I seem to be one of those golfers that if I start off okay, I'll be all right. But, if I start off ropey, I will continue to be ropey.
"I've not played a lot of golf this year due to being busy at work. I'm just going along to see what happens. If I play well great, but I'm not really expecting to be in with a chance of winning again, to be honest.
"I've won it three times and that's been nice, especially last year, and I'm quite happy with that. If another one comes along, then great. If not, I won't be worrying about it too much."
The 66-strong field contains eight past champions, namely Kelly, Gareth Wright (2014 and 2016), Greig Hutcheon (1999 and 2013), Alastair Forsyth (2000), Craig Ronald (2004), Jason McCreadie (2008), Chris Doak (2010) and Graham Fox (2012).
Others chasing Gleneagles glory in the event include former European Tour players Craig Lee, Steven O'Hara and Andrew Oldcorn, as well as last year's Tartan Tour No 1 Paul O'Hara and Ross Cameron, who recently progressed to the second stage in this season's European Tour Qualifying School.
This is the 20th year in succession that Gleneagles has hosted the event while M&H Logistics are the title sponsor for the third season in a row.
Tom Wotherspoon, M&H Logsitics Managing Director, said: “We look forward to starting this year’s M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championship with the pro am this Sunday when we will be celebrating our most successful year to date as a business.
"We would like to wish the players all the very best of luck for the championship and we will see you at the first tee.”
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