GARETH WRIGHT is relishing the prospect of taking on former Open champion Paul Lawrie at Gleneagles over the next four days.
Wright, the newly-installed head pro at West Linton after succeeding his stepfather Ian, is the defending champion in the £40,000 Scottish PGA Championship which starts tomorrow.
Numerically, he faces a doubly difficult task to hang on to the coveted crown after the field for the 72-hole event on the King’s Course was increased from 66 last year to 132.
Wright also has Lawrie to try and beat on this occasion as the two-times winner makes his first appearance in the Tartan Tour’s flagship event for around a decade.
“I am glad that we have the likes of such great players as Paul Lawrie playing in our flagship event,” said Edinburgh-based Wright.
“It gives the tournament and the tartan tour great publicity but also gives us as players a chance to see how our game compares to such high-class golfers.”
Wright is just back from a trip to America and feels “nice and refreshed” for his first big assignment since taking over the job at West Linton.
“I have had a busy, busy start to the year with trying to get everything sorted with me taking over as head pro,” he said.
“I am hugely proud to take over from my stepfather, who is a fantastic role model as a boss. I hope I can continue to do the job as well as he has shown me. I have had a good first month in the job.
“I hope that travelling up to Gleneagles, which is one of my favourite resorts in the world, will inspire me to defend the trophy I won last year.
“I am hoping that staying in the hotel as being the past champion puts me and my game in a great place to do that.
“After doing some good work on my game and putting some new equipment from my new sponsor Srixon in play, I feel that my game is in the best place it has been for a while.”
Neil Fenwick, another Capital contender in Perthshire, is in the same group as Lawrie for the opening two rounds.
Other Lothians hopefuls include Andrew Oldcorn, Mark Kerr and the Hillson brothers, Mark and Gordon.