Hickory hit helps Gary Orr to Seniors win

Gary Orr with the trophy. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Gary Orr with the trophy. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
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Gary Orr joined Brandon Stone in tasting victory in East Lothian this season after turning back time by having a hit with hickory clubs.

Helensburgh man Orr won the Scottish Seniors Open at Craigielaw, just a few miles along the coast from the scene of South African Stone’s success in the Scottish Open in July.

On the eve of the Staysure Tour event, Orr joined Paul Eales and Jarmo Sandelin in a hickory challenge on the academy course at Craigielaw.

During that, he was told about Stone saying after a superb closing 60 how he’d been helped in that final round by practising the night before with an old wedge purchased from the Jack White Hickory Shop in 
Gullane.

“Hopefully that rubs off on me this week,” said Orr before getting down to the real thing at Craigielaw - and the 51-year-old was delighted that it did as he landed a first over-50s title triumph.

“I think having a hit with hickory clubs before the event was a good omen,” he said, smiling. “It certainly worked for Brandon Stone and now it’s worked for me. But don’t tell anyone that’s the secret. Keep it quiet!”

Orr is just the fourth home player to win the Scottish Seniors and the first since Sam Torrance landed the title at Dalmahoy in 2006.

Three ahead overnight, the Surrey-based player was five clear at the turn on a wild final day but ended up having to hole an eight-foot birdie putt on the last to pip Englishman Paul Streeter.

“Bloody hell, that was hard going,” admitted Orr as he savoured his first victory since winning the British Masters at Woburn in 2000 - the same year he also won the Portuguese Open.

“It’s been a long time and it’s brilliant to get my first (over-50s) victory on Scottish soil. This is brilliant, in fact.

“In some ways, it is just as satisfying as my two main Tour wins. Obviously it’s not the same stature of events but you are still playing against guys you played against from that circuit and it’s the same feeling when you win.”

Edinburgh man Andrew Oldcorn finished joint tenth - the next best Scot after Orr.