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Greig Hutcheon wins Optical Express Pro Golf Tour finale
January 24, 2012

The final of the Optical Express Pro Golf Tour 2011 took place at the majestic Son Gual, in Mallorca, and was won by Banchory's Greig Hutcheon.

The Optical Express Pro Golf Tour saw a selection of Scotland's professional and top amateur golfers play in six 36-hole strokeplay events across the country - at Irvine (Bogside), Whitekirk, The Roxburghe, The Westerwood, Hilton Park and Stranraer - during 2011 before 24 qualified for the international final at the sunshine island of Mallorca's number one golf course.

Each of the tournaments had a guaranteed minimum £8,000 prize fund, with the Mallorcan final having a pot of £10,000, and the top 12 qualifying for prize-money.

The result was hard on Swanston New's John Gallagher, who slipped from second overnight to joint-tenth after a second-round 78. Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills) recorded a best-of-the day 70 in the second round to finish joint third on 145, one shot behind second-placed Lorne Kelly (Pro Dream USA), who was three adrift of Hutcheon.

Tournament director Alan Tait said: "To stage a Tour Championship at such a fantastic venue as Son Gual is a dream come true. The professionals all thoroughly enjoyed the week and it's great that we have been able to reward our leading players, who more importantly have shown their support to the Optical Express Pro Golf Tour in its first year."

Son Gual is an increasingly popular destination for such events, with the Mallorca Senior Open played there in 2009 and prestigious brands including Rolex, Porsche and Pinmar hosting annual events at the course.

Built at a cost of €30m and opened only in October 2007, Son Gual has continually created a strong reputation among the golfing cognoscenti for maintaining the highest of standards, both on and off the course.

And those high standards are reaping their rewards after Golf World ranked the course the 53rd best in continental Europe last year, a ranking that means it is the ninth-best course in Spain and, unequivocally, the best in Mallorca , being, as it is, the only course from the island to make the list.

The opening paragraph of the magazine's review stated: "When Golf World visited in June, we could not have been more impressed - hence the significant rise up the rankings. Son Gual could have hosted a European Tour event the following morning by doing nothing more than take out the white tee markers and send the pros off the tips..."

That is a stunning testimonial for a golf course prepared only for a normal day's play from members and visitors, and the outstanding condition was clearly one of the reasons for Son Gual's leap from 91st to 53rd position - an upward move of 38 places in just two years.

The judges from Golf World 's top 100 continental Europe panel are not the only visitors to have been impressed.

Former Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam compared the greens at Son Gual to those at Augusta National, where he won the 1991 US Masters, while tennis superstar Rafael Nadal is a regular visitor when not competing on the ATP World Tour.

Spanish World Cup winner and Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has also visited on more than one occasion; former footballers Jamie Redknapp, Andy Gray and Alan McInally were among a group of Sky Sports analysts and commentators who visited for an end-of-season golf day; and other familiar faces at the course have included comedian Jasper Carrott, tennis legend Boris Becker and German national football coach Joachim Löw.

And Son Gual now sits in the IMG Prestige programme alongside some of the world's most exalted golf venues including Kingsbarns, Scotland; La Manga Club, Spain; Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand; Yas Links, in the United Arab Emirates; and Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa.

www.son-gual.com

Result: 1, Greig Hutcheon (Banchory) 141; 2, Lorne Kelly (Pro Dream USA) 144; =3, Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills), Lindsay Mann (Carnoustie Links) 145; 5, Graham Fox (North Gailes) 146; =6 Chris Currie (Caldwell); James McGhee (Bishopbriggs Golf Range)147; =8, Craig Matheson (Falkirk Tryst), Graeme Brown (Montrose) 148; =10 Neil Fenwick (Dunbar), John Gallagher (Swanston New), John Henry (Clydebank & District), Paul Wardell (Whitekirk) 149;  14, Lauren Mackin (Son Gual) 151; 15, David Roger (Windyhill) 153;  16, Mark Kerr (Murrayfield) 154; 17, Stewart Savage (Dalmuir) 157. NR: Scott Herald ( Mearns Castle ); Retired Steven Duncan ( Loch Lomond ).








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