DUDDINGSTON’S Tom Buchanan enjoyed taking “revenge” on the King’s Course at Gleneagles after sweeping into the top ten in the £50,000 Gleneagles PGA Scottish Championship.
The 31-year-old shot a four-under 67 in his third round for level-par total and a share of tenth spot heading into the final 18 holes in Perthshire.
It set him up for a happier finish to the Tartan Tour’s flagship event than he encountered at the same venue a year ago.
Playing in the final round, Buchanan slipped on the 12th tee and was unable to finish after damaging ligaments in his right ankle.
“The King’s Course and I have loads of history, so it was nice to take revenge,” he said with a smile. “It was weird when I stepped on to the 12th tee again earlier in the week but what happened a year ago was simply an accident.
“Now something similar to this 67 would certainly help me get over that.”
In a twist of fate, Buchanan found himself starting his third round at the 12th after a two-tee start was implemented following a lengthy weather delay.
But he managed to put that to the back of his mind in a round that contained six birdies.
The haul hoisted him up the leaderboard to trail pacesetter James McKinnon by eight shots going into the final round.
McKinnon, the club pro at Irvine Bogside, took the lead after Murrayfield’s Mark Kerr slipped to a three-over 74.
Three clear of the field at the halfway stage, Kerr undid most of his good work in the opening two rounds when he ran up a costly triple-bogey 7 at the fourth. On five-under for the tournament, he trailed McKinnon by three, sharing fourth spot with Scott Henderson and Greig Hutcheon.
“I actually hit 15 greens in regulation but it all went wrong at one hole,” admitted the 29-year-old. “I only had a 7-iron for my second shot but tugged it a bit and found a bad spot.
“I was a bit flustered after that but was pleased to cover my final 11 holes in two-under.
“It’s disappointing to have let three shots spill at one hole. Now I need to shoot a low one in the final round to give myself a chance.”
McKinnon’s flawless 66, the best score of the day, earned him a one-shot lead over Caldwell’s Chris Currie with Alan Lockhart of Ladybank a further stroke behind in third. West Linton’s Gareth Wright, last year’s runner-up, was lying seventh, a shot behind Kerr, after a 68 – the first bogey-free round of his professional career.
“I hit it really good again but didn’t hole anything on the greens,” said Wright. “I hit a lot of good putts that looked like they were going in only to slip past the hole.”