Banchory’s Greig Hutcheon, runner-up to Stephen Gray in both the domestic Order of Merit and money table last year, sharpened up for the start of the new Tartan Tour season at Dundonald on April 11, by winning the North-east Alliance match-play foursomes at Murcar Links last week, writes Colin Farquharson.
Hutcheon and his amateur partner, five-handicapper David Fleming (Portlethen) beat the all-amateur pairing of Scott Larkin (Royal Aberdeen) and Euan Kennedy (Newmachar) by two holes in the final.
Tartan Tour star Hutcheon and Fleming won the first three holes and were four up after six but had been pulled back to square by the 12th.
Larkin and Kennedy birdied the seventh and eighth and the ninth was halved in birdies, leaving Hutcheon and Fleming two up at the turn.
Larkin and Kennedy won the 10th and 11th to get back on terms for the first time in the match but lost the 12th, 13th and 15th to be three down with three to play, the 14th having been halved in birdies. Larkin and Kennedy once more really and won the 16th and 17th to be one down on the 18th tee.
Unfortunately, Kennedy drove into a bunker on the right at the last and Larkin, up against the face, could only splash out sideways. On in two, Hutcheon and Fleming doubled their margin of victory with a par 4.
The winners were roughly one or two over par, not bad scoring in the wind. Hutcheon earned £130 for his success, small beer by Tartan Tour standards but neverthless a morale-boosting victory as he shapes up for a new Scottish season in which he seeks to regain his No 1 status.
Speaking after the event, Hutcheon said: “I was blessed with a very tidy, sharp five-handicapper in Mr Fleming. Although we never played our best as a pair we were never far from par over the two days.
“As for the Tartan Tour I’m greatly looking forward to the season teeing off. My big events are obviously the PGA championship at Wentworth and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
“I unfortunately will need to request an invite to the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart but I’m hoping they will look upon my request favourably as I put up a good performance last year from the bad side of the draw, finishing 49th and beating two US PGA tour stars whom I was playing with during the final round on Sunday.
“Nevertheless, greatly looking forward to the coming season and must take this opportunity to thank my local sponsors.”