Forsyth pips O'Hara in play-off to win Loch Lomond Whiskies Scottish PGA Championship

Forsyth pips O'Hara in play-off to win Loch Lomond Whiskies Scottish PGA Championship


Winning in this game is never easy. Alastair Forsyth went the full distance and more to claim the Loch Lomond Whiskies Scottish PGA Championship title with a play-off victory over Paul O’Hara at West Kilbride.

In a thrilling end to the Arnold Clark Tartan Tour’s flagship event, Forsyth pipped O’Hara at the second extra-hole after the sparring duo had finished locked at the top on 15-under following rounds of 68 and 71 respectively.

Twenty-two years after he first won the Scottish PGA Championship, Forsyth bridged a sizeable title gap to etch his name on to the famous old trophy for a second time.

There was also an element of revenge to the Mearns Castle professional’s latest conquest. Three years ago, he lost in a play-off for the national crown to O’Hara at Downfield.

“We got there in the end,” he said with a jubilant gasp. “This win is probably more satisfying than my first one. Back in 2000, I was up-and-coming and I had my main Tour card. This win was less expected because I’m not playing as much these days.”

Forsyth had been three strokes behind the frontrunning O’Hara heading into day four. Attempting to catch the Tartan Tour’s dominant player when he has his nose in front is akin to the epic reeling in job Captain Ahab embarked on when he tried to land Moby Dick.

When Forsyth sagged to a double-bogey on the third, his ambitions looked dead in the water. The 46-year-old got the head down, though, and mounted a spirited salvage operation. “You either let that kind of thing bother you, or you grind it out,” he said.

A birdie on the fifth aided the recovery before he flighted a superb 7-iron into three-feet at the seventh which spawned an eagle. At one point, O’Hara held a four-shot lead over the field but, with a birdie on the 15th, Forsyth inched himself to the front by a stroke. O’Hara, playing in the match behind, responded swiftly with a birdie of his own at 15 to move back into a share of the lead. Neither player could forge any more gains coming home and they headed for the sudden-death shoot-out.

The bold O’Hara unleashed the heavy artillery down the first and held his breath as his drive ended up on the bank of the burn that crosses the fairway. Fortune certainly favoured the brave. 

With Forsyth safely on the green in two, O’Hara then dinked a superbly executed recovery shot to five-feet. Forsyth’s raking birdie putt to win missed while O’Hara spurned his chance when his effort kissed the cup.

On they went to the 18th and O’Hara’s approach found the right-hand bunker. Forsyth made a steady par and watched as his rival, who had splashed out to six-feet, caressed the cup again with a putt to extend the play-off. The title, and the £4,210 first prize, belonged to Forsyth.

“It was a strange day,” added Forsyth. “I wasn’t out if it after the third round but you sometimes think you’re unlikely to catch Paul when he gets his nose in front. I actually didn’t look at the scores at all until I saw the board on 18th and got a pleasant surprise to see I was sharing the lead. I assumed Paul would be out in front. "This is our national championship. It’s the one we all want to win. To do it again is very, very pleasing.”

This was O’Hara’s fourth runners-up finish in the Scottish PGA and the 2019 champion said: “I missed so many putts during the round and it was the same in the play-off. I missed a five-footer to win and then a six-footer to keep it going. My pace was just miles out. It was not like me at all.”

Craig Lee, last year’s runner-up, closed with a 70 to finish third on 10-under while Graeme Robertson earned the prize for the leading trainee after a 70 gave him fourth on nine-under. Graham Fox signed off the defence of the title over his home course with a 67 to jump into fifth on seven-under.

CLICK HERE to view a full list of scores from the Loch Lomond Whiskies Scottish PGA Championship


Our Partners

  • Air IT
  • Banyan Tree
  • The Belfry
  • Coca-Cola
  • EVC
  • FootJoy
  • Gleneagles
  • PING
  • St. James's Place
  • Therabody
  • Titleist