Lothians trio finish strongly at SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge

Jamie McLeary claimed the  Douglas Lowe Memorial Trophy as top Scot
Jamie McLeary claimed the Douglas Lowe Memorial Trophy as top Scot
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Bonnyrigg-based Jamie McLeary and East Lothian duo Grant Forrest and Danny Kay all finished with a flourish in the £220,000 SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore.

McLeary claimed the honour of ending up as top Scot in the event for a third time after signing off with a 67 at Macdonald Spey Valley for a seven-under-par 277 total.

That secured him a share of 13th spot behind Englishman Richard McEvoy in a tournament won by McLeary in 2009, two years after he also finished runner-up.

The 36-year-old picked up the Douglas Lowe Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the top Scot, on this occasion after finishing two shots ahead of Forrest after he’d closed with a 65.

“It’s not the trophy I would have liked – I’d have liked both of them – but it’s nice,” said McLeary after maintaining his good form following a fifth-place finish in Denmark the previous week.

“It’s especially pleasing when there are two or three times the normal number of Scots in this tournament.”

Forrest, who is in his first full season in the paid ranks, holed a 50-foot birdie putt at the last to cap a flawless closing effort in the Highlands.

The six-under-par salvo catapulted the 24-year-old into a share of 21st spot, backing up his two top-five finishes in Turkey and Belgium.

“I’m happy with my game,” said the Craigielaw star. “I know I have the ability – it’s just a case of putting it together for four rounds.”

Dunbar man Kay was also pleased with his performance after signing off with a 67 to finish in the top 50 in only his second Challenge Tour start.

“I will definitely get a bit of confidence from this,” said the 26-year-old, who is attached to The Renaissance Club and had Ross Noon on his bag.

“I’ve been playing well in practice rounds but not taking it into tournaments but hopefully this week will be what allows me to kick on.”

In an event won for the fourth year in a row by an Englishman, Royal Burgess player James Ross, the fourth Lothians player to survive the cut, finished joint-48th after a closing 73.