Gavin Hay hopes to be Deer Park Master again

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Gavin Hay is hoping a return to Deer Park this week as the defending champion will “kick-start” his season.

The 26-year-old is targeting a return to form in the Emtec Group Deer Park Masters, which he won 12 months ago in a play-off.

Hay, who hails from Grantown-on-Spey but is now based at Mearns Castle Golf Academy on the outskirts of Glasgow, beat experienced duo Graham Fox and Robert Arnott in a shoot-out to claim victory in the Tartan Tour event.

“I’ve always really enjoyed playing in the Deer Park Masters and last year was great being able to beat guys with such experience in a pressure situation,” said Hay.

“Doing so with a birdie in the first play-off hole meant I felt like I had really won it rather than having it handed to me.

“With the summer we’ve had this year I think Deer Park will present a very different challenge this year compared to last year considering it rained both days.

“I’m really looking forward to it and it would be the perfect time for my fortunes to turn around again.”

Hay’s rivals in the 36-hole event, which starts today, include Paul O’Hara and Chris Kelly, who finished second and third respectively in last week’s PGA Pros’ Championship at Little Aston.

Others in the field for the pro-am event include Northern Open champion Gareth Wright and on-form Alastair Forstyh, a two-time European Tour winner.

Elsewhere, Turnhouse star Euan McIntosh heads the Lothians hopefuls heading into battle in the Scottish Amateur Championship at Blairgowrie.

For the second year running, the event starts with two stroke-play qualifying rounds, with the top 64 progressing to a match-play phase.

McIntosh will be hoping to make his experience count in both formats, as will Matthew Clark, who pipped the Edinburgh man in the East of Scotland Open at Lundin a couple of weeks back.

Other Lothians players in the field in Perthshire include former Scottish Boys champion Eric McIntosh from Bruntsfield Links, as well as 2016 quarter-finalist Malcolm Pennycott (Royal Burgess).