Reigning Deer Park Masters champion Greig Hutcheon has named 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie as the biggest influence on his career as he aims to capture his fifth consecutive win at the event, his sixth overall.
Hutcheon, who will battle it out as one of 50 PGA professionals in the Tartan Tour event, worked as ‘the helper’ at Banchory Golf Club’s professional shop at the same time Lawrie was serving as the club’s assistant pro, and says it was Lawrie’s work ethic that really stuck out.
“I used to watch how he practised and how he worked and I tried to copy him,” said Hutcheon. “Without that and his guidance throughout my career, I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am today.
“It has helped me to have a great career in golf. I’ve played over 100 tour events between the European Tour and Challenge Tour and I’m still making a living playing the game I love.”
Now attached to the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, Hutcheon’s name is linked to Deer Park forever thanks to his magnificent round of 63 that still sees him boasting the title of ‘course record holder’, and it’s a place he always looks out for when the Tartan Tour fixtures calendar is announced at the start of each year.
“When I first came to Deer Park to play in the Masters, I had never played the course before and I didn’t even get the chance to play a practice round,” recalls the 44-year-old.
“I went out on that first day and shot 63. I fell in love with the course early on, although there’s only one way your scores can go after shooting the course record [laughs]. It’s a good problem to have. It’s a great golf course with a lot of fantastic golf holes. It deserves a whole lot more credit than it sometimes receives.”
Playing consistently well at Deer Park means Hutcheon always arrives with confidence. While he says he’s learned ‘when to be brave and when to be more conservative’, the Aberdeenshire native admits he isn’t heading into this year’s event with as high expectations as in previous years.
He said: “This year has been a real struggle for me. I’ve had this niggling left hip injury that is a result of wear and tear. I’m 44-years-old, so I’m a bit past my peak and my start to the season has been fairly poor.
“I’m not coming into the week expecting to win, especially with some fantastic young guys in great form out there. I’ll do my utmost to lift that trophy once again but, if it’s not me, I think Paul O’Hara will be the one to watch.”
The Deer Park Masters will be staged on 1st and 2nd of August 2017 with 50 PGA professionals and over 300 amateurs taking part in the biggest pro-am event on the Tartan Tour circuit.