It might not necessarily come as a surprise to many people as the Tartan Tour, after all, has long been renowned for boasting top golfing talent.
But, at the same time, the standard of play on the PGA in Scotland circuit in the opening half of the 2019 campaign, has certainly been a timely reminder about the strength of home-based PGA Professionals.
Leading the way, of course, has been Alastair Forsyth, a two-time European Tour winner who is now based at Mearns Castle Golf Academy, where he combines playing with some coaching.
It wasn’t just in PGA circles that Forsyth made people sit up when he shot rounds of 65-63-67-68 to finish with an incredible 25-under total at Hunstanton for a nine-shot victory in the Titleist & Footjoy PGA Professional Championship.
That effort earned praise from many of his former European Tour colleagues, with the 43-year-old having been in terrific form both in the build up to that event and thereafter.
For instance, he shot a 10-under-par 61 – that blistering effort contained two eagles and seven birdies – in an equally-impressive seven-shot success in the Bishopbriggs Pro Am before his win in Norfolk.
The Paisley man had also shot rounds of 67-65 in winning the Stirling 36-Hole Order of Merit event with a 12-under-par total while he was 11-under, carding scores of 65-68 on that occasion, when landing a second Northern Open title at Newmachar.
The day after he’d rounded off his wire-to-wire win at Hunstanton, Forsyth fired a nine-under 62 to share top spot with Scottish PGA champion Greig Hutcheon (Torphins) in the Bathgate Pro-Am.
And, as his hot streak continued, he then finished first on his own in the Hayston Pro-Am
with a six-under 64.
It’s not just Forsyth, though, who has been shooting the lights out this season as the circuit’s strength in depth has been there for all to see.
Though he ended up behind Paul O’Hara, Dunbar’s Neil Fenwick shot a sensational 64 at Royal Aberdeen in the inaugural Aberdeen Golf Links.
O’Hara also carded a 64 as he recorded a three-shot win in the Strathaven Pro Am, while the same score only proved good enough for second place as Gavin Hay (Mearns Castle Golf Academy) came out on top in the West Dunbartonshire Council Pro Am at Dalmuir.
Hay also went low, this time shooting a 65, to finish a shot ahead of Forsyth in the Drumpellier Pro Am, with the same score securing the top prize in the Pollok Pro-Am for Ross Cameron (Saltire Energy).
A four-under 66 did the trick for Jason McCreadie (Largs) in the Portpatrick Pro-Am, one of the most popular events on the schedule, with par-breaking 68s from O’Hara, Greg Dalziel (Scott Clelland Golf Technology), Michael Patterson (Williamwood) and Paul Robinson (Largs) seeing them share top spot in the Stranraer OOM Sprint event.
It also took red figures to win the equivalent event at Williamwood, where former European Tour player Craig Lee claimed the spoils with a 67.
“The quality of golf has always been high on the Tartan Tour, but this year has taken it to a different level altogether – the best for many years,” said PGA in Scotland Regional Manager Shona Malcolm. “With Alastair on fire from the start of the season, the other guys have been inspired to follow suit.
“The PGA’s playing members have contributed greatly to enhancing the Tartan Tour’s reputation with the standard of scoring this year, something we will be shouting from the rooftops in an effort to attract sponsorship and playing opportunities for future years.”