Lloyd Saltman is hoping his career is set to take off again after seeing signs that some hard graft and a new perspective are paying off with a fourth East Alliance Championship win.
The 33-year-old stormed to a six-shot success in a testing wind at Gullane, where he carded an eight-under 60 on the No. 3 Course before adding an equally-impressive three-under 68 on the No 2 Course.
The win saw Saltman, who is attached to The Renaissance Club, repeat his successes in the end-of-season battle for the Uni Royal Championship Trophy in 2006, 2014 and 2016.
“I know it’s a small event, but you still have to go out and shoot the numbers, so it was nice to card a 60 to take control of the tournament,” said the 2005 Open Championship Silver Medal winner.
“After starting with five birdies, 59 was in my mind a little bit, but I then went on a run of pars before getting on a birdie run again only for a bogey at the 16th to effectively put an end to any chances.”
Saltman, who played on the same Walker Cup team as Rory McIlroy at Royal County Down in 2007, qualified for the European Tour in 2011 along with his older brother, Elliot.
He then dropped off the radar as his form slumped and didn’t play at all for a spell after having his anterior cruciate ligament reconstructed following an accident on a motocross bike. “I’m fortunate to be a golfer and not a footballer otherwise I’d be done,” he said. “It’s nice that I have still got time on my side and I feel I am learning more now than I used to.
“I think I kept making the same mistakes over and over and not really learning from them. With some help, I’ve been able to become more aware of that and assess things when they are happening and try not to make the same mistakes and improve.
“I’ve been playing full-time and the game has been coming together nicely. I’ve been working with Andrew Nicholson, who is based at The Wynyard Club in County Durham, since last August and things have been trending the right way.
“We have been making some changes which are bedding in nicely and it was nice to go out and play two rounds as well as I did in the East Alliance Championship.
“I’ve got to go to the finals of the PGA EuroPro Tour School in the middle of next month. I’ll do that and it then kicks off in May ahead of a busy summer, playing as much as I can.
“It’s been a long cold winter, but it’s one that I was looking forward to so that I could work on my game and get things in the shape I want.
“I’ve left no stone unturned with all aspects of the game and I’m trying to give myself an opportunity to get back to where I want to be playing.”
Danny Kay, who is also attached to The Renaissance Club, finished closest to Saltman in the Gullane event, with Bathgate’s Joe Bryce third on 135.
Fraser Smith (Merchants) picked up the Gavin Clark Trophy for the best 36-hole net total on the same score while the G G Wither Trophy played over 18 holes on No 3 went to Baberton’s Jimmy Rankeillor with a 64 off 14.
Ross Munro (golfclubs4cash) held off Bryce in the battle for the scratch order of merit title, with Newbattle’s Craig Surgeon retaining third spot.
• Capital-based Richie Ramsay jumped ahead of Stephen Gallacher after the second round of the Hero Indian Open in New Delhi.
As Gallacher, the joint-overnight leader, slipped to joint-12th after following his opening 67 with an up-and-down 74, Ramsay remained inside the top ten.
He carded five birdies in a one-under 71 to sit joint-eight on four-under, six shots behind leader Julian Suri after the American fired a second 67 at DLF Golf & Country Club.
“If you can play steady, there are chances out there - it’s just a matter of being patient,” said Ramsay as he looked ahead to the final 36 holes.