PGA EuroPro Tour star Craig Lee has made a bright start in the Barclays Scottish Open.
Lee, a winner at Bovey Castle last month, is competing at Loch Lomond after finishing top of the Tartan Tour Order of Merit in 2009 and then performing well at the PGA Play-offs last October.
This is one of the biggest European Tour events of the season and features some of the biggest names from the golfing world.
Lee began his first round on the tenth hole and bogeyed the tenth but soon claimed a birdie at the 12th and then an eagle three at the 560-yard par five 13th to move into the top five.
His worst hole was the second when a double bogey six brought him back to level par before he birdied the third to end on one-under.
Lee then shot 72, 70 and a 74 as he claimed a final position of tied 26th.
â€œIt was a big week for me and, after a good couple of opening rounds, it was always going to be tough as it was in the back of my mind that I needed to win as much as possible because I’m wanting to put a deposit down on a house in Stirling,” said the 32-year-old.
Lee picked up a cheque for Â£27,150 – the biggest of his career – after a closing 74 left him on two-over for the tournament.
“It was a bit of a struggle in the conditions and, after arriving on the eighth tee at four-over I said to my caddie that I would have settled for that at the finish. But I got it to two-over by the finish so that was a good score,” added Lee.
Lee will be back on the PGA EuroPro Tour this week at the Players Club in Bristol but will be back with the big guns later in the year, having earned a spot in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
His long-term target is to get back on the European Tour after losing his card two seasons ago.
“I’ve got a two-year plan mapped out,” he said.
“If I can finish in the top five on the EuroPro Tour this season that will get me on to the Challenge Tour next year, which I think is the best way on to the main circuit. I’ll also give the Tour School a go at the end of the year.”
Another Scotsman with EuroPro Tour experience is Elliot Saltman and he performed well in the latest Challenge Tour competition.
This is the fifth successive tournament that Saltman, 28, has played on the Challenge Tour with his best performance so far coming two weeks ago when he finished second in the Fred Open Challenge De Espana.
The latest event â€“ The Allianz Golf Open de Lyon – finished on Sunday and Saltman was on six-under after his first round and in tied ninth position.
However, his hopes of winning the competition ended on Friday when he shot a three-over-par round of 74, although he still made the cut. Two further rounds of 69 left him on seven under and in tied 26th overall.
It was also an unforgettable week for Zimbabwe’s Mick Hough, who last played on the EuroPro Tour in 2008.
Hough had bagged a job caddying for Spanish golfing superstar Miguel Angel Jiminez during the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.