Ross Munro handed himself the perfect early birthday present by landing the biggest win of his career at one of the top courses in Scotland.
The Duddingston trainee pro, who turns 23 on Sunday, beat all the leading young players on the Tartan Tour to claim the Sandy Pipey Masters title at Royal Dornoch.
Munro shot rounds of 65 and 69 for a six-under-par total at the Sutherland venue, winning by two shots from another rising Lothians star, Musselburgh’s Cameron Marr.
The victory underlined promise displayed by Munro, notably when he shared the lead after the opening round in this season’s Scottish Open qualifier in Lossiemouth.
“To be honest, I’d only won Alliance events in the past, so to have knocked at the door a couple of times on the Tartan Tour, it was nice to get the job done,” he admitted.
It was a measure of Munro’s performance that he came out on top in an event that featured Paul O’Hara, one of the leading players on the Tartan Tour this season.
“Paul maybe wasn’t at his best on this occasion,” said Munro. “But, if you look at his form, he’s had an incredible year, so to win any event he’s in is quite a feat.”
Munro cut his golfing teeth at Liberton before joining long-serving Duddingston pro Alastair McLean as a PGA trainee at the Capital club.
“Alastair has helped a lot and given me the belief of some of the other good young players in Scotland,” he added. “If you look at my scoring average, it’s maybe not the best but I’m quite consistent.
“A couple of years ago I might have shot in the 80s, but now I’m in the mid to low-70s most of the time in these events and quite often in the 60s.
“I’ve certainly come on a lot since I played in junior events in the Lothians.”
While Munro still returns to Liberton for the occasional game, he has definitely benefited from opportunities that became available through his attachment to Duddingston.
“I play a lot with Stuart Smith’s crowd and their standard of golf is pretty good,” he said. “I also play quite a bit with (fellow Tartan Tour player) Craig Gordon. With his experience and also having caddied on Tour, he passes on some useful snippets of info.”
Munro, who is on course to become a fully-qualified PGA pro next year, has one big event remaining this season – the Tartan Tour’s flagship tournament.
“I’ve got the M&H Logistics Scottish PGA at Gleneagles to come next month, having been exempt for that off the Order of Merit this year,” he said. “It’s one of our big ones along with the P&H Championship and the Scottish Open qualifier.”
And next season? “I’m looking at trying to play a bit more,” added Munro. “My scoring isn’t as good in pro-ams as it is in the bigger tournaments and I’m maybe guilty of spending too much time helping my playing partners with their games.
“I need to get a bit better in those events and potentially maybe look to play in one or two of the PGA EuroPro Tour events up here.
“It would be good to test my game at the next level because when you are playing with guys like Greig Hutcheon, Paul O’Hara and Chris Currie they are every bit as good as some Challenge Tour players.
“Neil Fenwick is probably my biggest inspiration. Unlike some of the guys, he goes to a PGA EuroPro Tour actually trying to win. He puts a lot of effort in it and he’s spurring me on by trying to do it properly.”