Stuart McLaren takes South East District Open for eighth victory

Stuart McLaren with Lothians president John Allan at West Linton
Stuart McLaren with Lothians president John Allan at West Linton
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Stuart McLaren capped a remarkable season for Lothians golfers by winning the South East District Open at West Linton.

The Bruntsfield Links player holed a bunker shot to beat Castle Park’s Connor Wilson in a play-off after they’d tied on one-over after four rounds.

It was McLaren’s second success of the season in a Scottish Order of Merit event after winning the East of Scotland Open at Lundin as well in a play-off. The victory was also the eighth by players flying the Lothians flag in Scottish Order of Merit tournaments this year.

“When I set my goals for the year, I didn’t even consider winning once on the national circuit far less twice,” said McLaren, who proved the old adage about injured golfers being dangerous right on this occasion.

“I’ve been struggling with my back and shoulder for the last three weeks, having damaged ligaments in my rotator cuff,” he added.

“Although it flared up every so often, it meant I had to play within myself and played more conservative than normal.

“I never put myself in trouble all weekend off the tee which in the wind was key. Holing out the bunker for birdie was a great way to finish a great individual season.”

McLaren, who is the first Bruntsfield Links player to claim the title since Peter Bucher in 1976, is now hoping for more success as part of the Lothians side on duty in the Scottish Area Team Championship at Leven and Scoonie later this week.