16 Jun 17
Paul O’Hara emulated the wind that had wrought havoc in the penultimate round of the Titleist and FootJoy PGA Professional Championship with a five birdies in six hole blitz to blow away the field and clinch victory.
In doing so, however, he took a while to get into golfing gale force mode. It was as though he was suffering from the ill-effects of the double bogey and bogey on Luttrellstown Castle’s back nine in the third round that had resulted in his first over-par return of the tournament.
Sharing pole position with fellow Scot Christoper Currie and England’s Christopher McDonnell on one-under-par, O’Hara made a stuttering start.
Bogeys at the first two of the par threes appeared to have handed the initiative to a posse of high-class rivals including his co-leaders and former European Tour players Phillip Archer, Andrew Raitt and Garry Houston.
That is until the 30-year-old from North Lanarkshire Leisure moved into overdrive as the turn approached.
The last three holes of the front nine were birdied, respite followed at the tenth, and then the assault was resumed with two more an the 11th and 12th.
Conversely, Currie, who arrived at the seventh hole three shots clear of his compatriot, bogeyed the ninth and tenth, and with the rest of the challengers seemingly becalmed, all O’Hara needed to do was hold his nerve.
Which he did admirably. Not that he is without practice, having made his first appearance in the PGA’s flagship tournament buoyed by victory in the Northern Open.
“I won last week in Scotland as well,” said O’Hara, who posted a two-under-par round of 70 to be three-under for the tournament. “So that’s back to back wins. I’m very pleased with that
“As for today, I played well today after a bad start and the birdies won it for me.
“Chris was a couple under and I took a while to get going. But once I holed a couple of putts for birdies that it was it. After that it was a case of going for two-putt pars.”
That is until the last when, cushioned by a two-stroke lead over Currie, O’Hara could afford the luxury of a three-putt to claim the trophy and £10,000 winner’s cheque.
In what was a Scottish one-two it left Currie one shot adrift but £6,000 or so richer. Not that he had any complaints about the outcome.
“It wasn’t my best ball striking week, it was more a grind to be honest,” he admitted.
“I had a good putting week and drove the ball well, keeping it in play.
“It was a very difficult golf course that doesn’t really give you much. You’ve got to just hang in there and grind away. But it was a pleasing week and Paul O’Hara is a worthy winner.”