By Kent Gray
Tom Buchanan has returned to the windswept scene of his greatest golfing moment and is smiling once more.
The Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club head teaching pro overcame gusty winds at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to win the 15th event on the 2017-18 UAE PGA Tour on Monday with a two-over 74. It was his third victory in as many starts on the regional circuit after he notched back-to-back wins at Trump Dubai and Saadiyat Beach in December, the latter landing him a dream start in January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The 38-year-old Scot recorded rounds of 74-75 – and a lifetime of memories – in the European Tour event and has clearly picked up where he left off – Monday’s event in Abu Dhabi was his first since the Desert Swing opener and means he’s won three of the five UAE PGA events he’s entered this season.
“I was a bit rusty out there today and had some new clubs in the bag as well and made a few errors. Having only played 36 holes since Abu Dhabi [January] certainly wasn’t ideal,” Buchanan told Golf Digest Middle East.
“But it was great to be back at Abu Dhabi, so many good memories. It’s always great to win and to beat your peers.”
Nice to win my 3rd @uaepga trophy today @ADGolfClub. New weapons from @Titleist were behaving beautifully On a very blustery day. Hope the form continues for the rest of the season. #uaepga pic.twitter.com/QLTSBKMd4i
— Tom Buchanan (@tompro66) March 12, 2018
Starting on the 10th, Buchanan got off to a heady start with birdie but doubled the 14th before a birdie on the par-5 18th saw him make the turn at even par. He then traded a bogey at the 3rd with a birdie at the 5th before a frustrating bogey-bogey finish.
“I bogeyed my last two holes and thought that would cost me but fortunately it was good enough,” he said. “I’ve only played five events this year and to win three is fantastic. Hopefully the form can continue and we [the pros] can’t wait for the Dubai Golf Trophy [matches against the best Emirates Golf Federation order of merit amateurs on May12-13].”
Buchanan’s 74 edged Jonathan Craddock (Emirates G.C.), former UAE PGA chief executive Steven Munro and Michael Major (Dubai Creek) into a share of second place after the trio signed for 76s on Monday.
It was Craddock’s second runner-up finish inside a week after he lost in a playoff (also involving current UAE PGA chief executive Luke Plumb) to Joe Way at Emirates Golf Club last week.
The next event on the UAE PGA Tour order of merit schedule is the Montgomerie Pro-Am on April 2.