Tom Buchanan had ‘incredible experience’ in Abu Dhabi event

Tom Buchanan won a local qualifier to join the likes of world No 1 Duston Johnson and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy in this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Tom Buchanan won a local qualifier to join the likes of world No 1 Duston Johnson and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy in this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
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Tom Buchanan may be making an early exit from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after missing the cut but the UAE-based Scot is returning to normality with his head held high.

In the biggest test by far in his golfing career, the 38-year-old produced a very respectable performance in one of the European Tour’s top events that is played on a really tough course.

Earning some of the loudest cheers over the opening two days, Buchanan followed his opening 74 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club with a 75 to finish on five-over-par in the $3 million tournament.

The former Duddingston assistant professional started for home in his second round by picking up three birdies in four holes to really give the big band of supporters following him something to shout about.

But his hopes of making the cut were dashed by an untimely double-bogey 6 with five holes to go in the company of Englishman Paul Waring and Ricardo Gouevia of Portugal.

“It has been an incredible experience,” Stranraer man Buchanan said afterwards. “It’s something I will never forget, especially having had such a big following here, which was great.

“The size of the crowd seemed to get more and more as the day went on. They were very vocal and I’m going to go and have a few beers with them now and enjoy the afternoon.”

Buchanan, who left Edinburgh six years ago to take up a post at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club, got into the event by winning an 18-hole qualifier for UAE PGA players.

“I’ve not played my best over the two days and I was ropey today, but five-over is not disastrous as it is so long out there,” added the former East of Scotland Alliance champion.

“After making birdies at one, two and four at the start of my back nine, I probably got a wee bit excited. The one place you can’t miss five is left - and I did in the middle of the trees and made 6.”

Buchanan is staying on in Abu Dhabi along with his old boss at Duddingston, Alastair McLean, and Gregor Munro, his brother-in-law, to enjoy the final two days of the event.

“This weekend I will be mostly on the the terrace enjoying some nice cold, iced beverages,” he said, smiling. “I go back to work on Monday, when I have nine holes of night golf against a Sweden team who are out here. That will be me back to normal.”

Once that happens, what will be his most memorable moments from this week? “A sore head and an empty wallet?” he added with a hearty laugh.

“The reception at the 18th last night was memorable. As was hitting one out of the middle today at hole four and knocking that in for a 2. I got a huge roar and that was great.”