RED-HAIRED golfer Gareth Wright has become a consistent challenger on the Tartan Tour after extinguishing his natural fiery temperament.
The Edinburgh-based player carded a three-under 67 on day two at Deeside to put himself in contention heading into today’s final round of the Paul Lawrie Invitational.
He was lying second, a shot behind leader Greig Hutcheon, and was feeling confident he could follow up his summer success in the Glenmuir Club Pros Championship.
“My game has become consistent this year,” said Wright, who reckons his stepdad Ian, the West Linton professional, deserved most of the credit for that. “We’ve put in a lot of work while I’m also thinking a lot better these days and that’s helping, too,” he added.
“Having red hair has made me a fiery character on the golf course but I’m now settling down. I’m not going for shots I used to and playing more percentage golf.”
The big-hitter has also started cashing in on his power at the longer holes on courses.
“At the end of last year we sat down and looked at my stats and they were diabolical for the par-5s,” he revealed.
“Considering how long I am off the tee it was terrible that I wasn’t scoring better at those holes but that has definitely improved as well.”
Fifth last year, Wright is fourth on the Tartan Tour Order of Merit heading into the final event, the Optical Express tournament at The Duke’s next month. After that, the 30-year-old will play for either Scotland or Wales in the European Team Championship in Portugal then wrap up his year in the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey.
“I’ve still got some good events to look forward to and it would be great if I could finish in the top three on the Order of Merit,” said Wright. “If I can win here, that would give me even more confidence.”
Former Dunbar assistant Terry Mathieson, the overnight leader, undid his good work on the opening day by letting five shots slip in his first five holes.
He eventually signed for a 75 – ten more than his first-round effort to slip back into a tie for 11th, six behind leader Hutcheon after his 66.
Mathieson’s mate, Neil Fenwick, and former Mortonhall man David Patrick, suffered rare early exits in these sort of Tartan Tour events. So, too, did former Scottish amateur champion John Gallagher, who is now attached to Turnhouse.
But the 33 players to qualify for the final round included Gullane trainee Keir McNicoll, Duddingston’s James McGhee, the unattached Mark Kerr and Whitekirk pro Paul Wardell.