Sport Golf

Monday 24 April 2017

Cutler content with showing in 'tough' Scottish test

Nigel Whittaker

Paul Cutler, the only Irish hopeful to survive the cut, claimed a top-20 finish in the Scottish Open Strokeplay Championship over the tough Glasgow Gailes links in Ayrshire yesterday.

The 21-year-old from Portstewart, who won the Lytham Trophy at the start of the month, closed with a pair of two-over 73s for a seven-over 291 and shared 17th place behind runaway French winner Romain Wattel.

"It was a very tough course and I'm happy enough with the way I played," said Cutler, who heads for Baltray this week to defend his East of Ireland title before returning to Scotland for the Amateur Championship at Muirfield in a fortnight.

"It was a decent weekend in terms of ball striking but I struggled to find the pace of the greens and that's what I need to work on."

At the head of the pack, 19-year-old Wattel bolstered the French connection in Scotland as he fired a 71 and a 69 for a nine-under 275 and a commanding six-shot victory over Englishman Billy Hemstock.

Wattel's success, the first by a Frenchman in the strokeplay event since Francois Illouz in 1989, saw him join the list of French winners in amateur and pro contests in Scotland down the years that also includes Gregory Havret, Thomas Levet, Gwladys Nocera, Gregory Bourdy and Phillipe Ploujoux.

He said: "I'm very, very happy. It's my first win in the UK and it's a big honour for me to follow the other great champions from France who have won in Scotland."

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