Connor Wilson tops Scottish Order of Merit despite 'rough start' to his year

Connor Wilson lost three kilos through food poisoning and also started shanking during a nightmare start to his 2022 campaign in South Africa.

Castle Park's Connor Wilson in action during the 2021 Scottish Amateur at Murcar Links, where he reached the final. Picture: Scottish Golf
Castle Park's Connor Wilson in action during the 2021 Scottish Amateur at Murcar Links, where he reached the final. Picture: Scottish Golf

But the 21-year-old Lothians man has ended the season with a smile back on his face after being crowned as Scottish Golf’s Men’s Order of Merit winner.

Wilson, who is based at Castle Park near Gifford, pipped talented teenager Connor Graham from Blairgowrie for the coveted crown, with Andrew Davidson of Crail and Matthew Clark (Meldrum House) third and fourth respectively in the season-long standings.

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It was during a trip to South Africa as part of a Scottish Golf squad that Wilson, the 2018 Scottish Boys’ champion, found himself on the back foot at the start of the year.

Connor Wilson won the Lothians Championship for a second time at Royal Burgess in July. Picture: Lothians Golf Association

“I went to South Africa in February and I got food poisoning. I lost three kilos pretty instantly. I had to pull out my first event and in the second one I played but was terrible and it was the same in the third event, when I even got the shanks,” he said.

“My golf and fitness took a pretty big hit so, when I got home, I pretty much worked on regaining the weight I’d lost, which came back in about a month but my golf, unfortunately, didn’t recover so quickly. It was a real struggle.

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“My first tournament when I felt I started to play better again was the Scottish Stroke-Play at the end of May. It wasn’t outstanding, but tied for 22nd was a lot better than I had been doing.

“From the Scottish onwards, I played quite well as my game started to come back. I think the thing is that you tell yourself you are okay, you are fine, but I really wasn’t.

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“Playing in South Africa, where it is 40 degrees, I’ve just lost three kilos and I get the shanks on the range. But I’m still telling myself that I can play, which was a bit delusional. I was in a bad way and even walking is hard in that heat when you’ve lost a lot of weight and feel dehydrated.”

Wilson, who landed a second Lothians Championship at Royal Burgess in July, secured his Order of Merit title triumph by finishing runner-up to Allyn Dick in the South East District Open, which concluded at Castle Park.

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“Winning the Lothians was a big one - that was enjoyable,” he admitted. “I was also quite an experience playing at home. It was a different pressure as I felt I needed to do well on my home course. To get enough points to win the Order of Merit just shows you how a potentially bad season can turn into a pretty good one.”

Wilson, who is aiming to have a crack at the DP World Tour Qualifying School in a year’s time, is a proud Stephen Gallacher Foundation ambassador, having been part of its success over the past 11 years.

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“I’m going to Qatar in February with a boys’ squad of maybe 10 or 12 to do some warm weather training then play in the Qatar Amateur at the end of it. It will be cool to be part of that,” he said.