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Paul O’Hara won’t be phased by everything that comes with the PGA Tour this week, says his coach, David Orr.
The Scot, who has excelled on the Tartan Tour, is making his PGA Tour debut this week thanks to a sponsor’s invite, and will tee it up over Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula.
Orr, who is based at Whitecraigs Golf Club and has worked with O’Hara for the past three years, told bunkered.co.uk the Lanarkshire pro more than deserves his chance to mix it with the world’s best.
“I think he very much merits a shot at it,” Orr said. “For the last couple of years, he’s been one of the standout players in the region, him and Alastair (Forsyth). I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for him.”
O’Hara will play alongside German pro Matti Schmid, and his amateur partner, Patrick Hamill, who plays off ten.
Headlining the $9,000,000 event is Jordan Spieth, as well as US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and European star Viktor Hovland.
Orr thinks that the relaxed nature of the event will help his pupil, who he says is capable of competing with the very best on his day.
“It’s different to playing back home, but he’s trying to relax, filter out crowds and noise, cameras and everything else, and just try and immerse himself in the golf course.
“He doesn’t have any real weaknesses in his game, to be honest. The distance he hits the ball, the trajectory, he’s a great putter and iron player. He’s a complete player.
“Obviously, this is a completely different kettle of fish, but out of anybody, I think he does have the game to play there. Who knows what could happen with a step-up to the big events like this. When he does to get into that zone of seeing his shots, he really can deliver.
“He’s very capable of low scores. This tournament, they’re not easy golf courses, any of them, but he has the capability to shoot low scores.”
Orr explained that O’Hara has been out in California over the last fortnight, adjusting to everything that the world-famous links courses will have in store for him.
“We’ve been talking about the golf courses, making sure he’s getting his lines right, the weather conditions that he’s going to be facing.
“He’s just trying to relax into the format. He played yesterday in the pro-am and that went well for him. I think he was around three-under-par yesterday which is good for confidence.
“For Paul, learning the golf courses quickly is the priority for him. He said the greens are running around 12 or 13 on the stimp meter, so that’s a hell of a change from Scotland. That’s not easy to adapt to that, so that’s been his priority before the event.”
Regardless of the outcome of the week, Orr says the chance to play at the top table can only have benefits for O’Hara moving forward.
“There’s only nice upsides for him. I’ve been trying to keep him in that mindset, because there’s only positives that can come from this week. It’s a world-class event for him, he’s going from training and practicing at his local course in Hamilton to playing at Pebble Beach.
“I think the preparation out there has given him a chance to get his game moving forward to where it usually would be in the summer-time.
“It’s a great opportunity, but he’s not trying to put any extra pressure on himself, that’s just the way Paul is, and I think that’s key.”
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