Tom Higson has high hopes for Scottish PGA Championship at Deer Park despite strong competition

Tournament specialist Hutcheon will be the man to beat

By Martin Dempster
Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 7:30 am

In-form Tom Higson is feeling quietly confident heading into this week’s Loch Lomond Whiskies Scottish PGA Championship, even though Deer Park specialist Greig Hutcheon could be tough to beat.

Higson, who is attached to Gleneagles, shot back-to-back eight-under-par 64s at the new Dumbarnie Links in Fife to win the Travelling The Fairways Pro-Am on the Tartan Tour by six shots a fortnight ago.

That impressive victory came in the middle of Higson winning the first Get Back to Golf Tour event at Crail outright then sharing top spot in the second one at Murrayshall.

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“I have been playing really solid over the last few weeks,” he said. “It’s not that I’m doing anything special, I just started to hole more putts. Nothing in my game has changed. I have always been solid tee to green.

“When I played at Dumbarnie in the first round, I actually hadn’t got a clue what score I was on until one of my team said “your playing okay today”. Then, on the second day, I just played solid and the score took care of itself. I have been a lot happier away from the course after becoming a dad and this has helped my focus on the course, too.”

The Tartan Tour’s flagship event is heading back to Deer Park for the first time since 1990, when Ross Drummond claimed the coveted title for the fourth time in five years.

“I’m looking forward to this week,” added Higson. “It’s a course that really suits my eye and winning the Deer Park Masters last year brings back some good memories. I’m hoping my form can continue and hopefully I will give myself a good chance this week.”

Hutcheon, a three-time winner, has already tasted success at the Livingston venue this season, winning the Deer Park Masters for a seventh time last month.

“My form around Deer Park is almost inexplicable, to be honest,” he said. “The first time I played it in 2003, having just come off the tour after an injury, I played it blind and shot 63, which was a course record, and had a putt for a 62.

“I’ve played it well time and time again and it’s almost become automatic for me. I am aware of the dangers and wish I could play every tournament there.”

Paul O’Hara is the defending champion in a strong field that also includes European Tour winners Andrew Oldcorn and Alastair Forsyth, as well as Craig Lee, Chris Doak, Chris Kelly, Chris Currie, Graham Fox and Heather MacRae.

David Longmuir, PGA Scotland Manager, said: “This has been an enormously challenging year for everyone in the golf industry and we are hugely indebted to our new sponsors, Loch Lomond Whiskies, and to John Muir and the staff at Deer Park who have been tremendous supporters of the PGA over many years.”