Golf: Patrick relieved to cling on to his Order of Merit place

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MORTONHALL man David Patrick feared he’d messed up in his bid to earn an end-of-season trip to Turkey.

The 36-year-old signed off on a high with a closing 67 in the £50,000 Gleneagles PGA Scottish Championship. But he left the King’s Course believing he had little chance of hanging on to his place on the Tartan Tour’s Order of Merit.

Patrick, second at the start of the event, needed to finish in the top three in the rankings to qualify for the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey next month.

He headed home from Perthshire convinced he was going to miss out on that trip to either Jim McKinnon or Gareth Wright. But the former Walker Cup player got a nice surprise when he checked the final scores to discover he’ll be lining up in the £15,000 event at the PGA Sultan Course in Antalya along with Stephen Gray and Greig Hutcheon.

“When I left Gleneagles, I definitely thought I was going to be pipped by either Jim or Gareth,” revealed Patrick. “Jim was still leading and Gareth was tied for third. It was only when I got home and put up the scores that I discovered the good news.”

In the end, Patrick finished third, just five points ahead of fourth-placed Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills), with West Linton star Wright a further two-and-a-half points adrift in fifth.

“It all came down to less than a shot,” added Patrick, who feels he deserves his trip to Turkey on November 21-23.

“Having been in the top three on the order of merit all season, it would have been disappointing to have missed out. I had six top 5s in the eight counting events. I played consistently every time. The only disappointment is that I didn’t record a win and my finish at Gleneagles (tied 13th) was my worst of the eight.”

Wright, the runner-up last year, had to settle for seventh after a closing 72 for 281, six behind winner Alan Lockhart (Ladybank). Wright was four-over after four, had an eagle-2 at the 14th but finished with a disappointing 6. But, in finishing fifth on the order of merit, he’s secured a spot in the Johnnie Walker Championship back at Gleneagles next August. The Leith-based 29-year-old admitted he’d have been “very disappointed” if he’d missed out on one of seven spots up for grabs. Murrayfield’s Mark Kerr, the halfway leader, closed with a 76 to finish in a tie for 11th.