Kilspindie assistant pro Rob Paterson thought his chance of playing in the same field as Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed had gone, before a late reprieve…
The chance to compete against golf’s biggest names on your own turf doesn’t come around often.
This prospect nearly passed Rob Paterson by as he sat in traffic on his way to the St Andrews Bay Championship qualifier on the Asian Tour.
The vehicle jam was indicative of his recent fortunes as the story, originally reported by Monday Q Info, began when he discovered his driver was broken in the lead-up to the qualifier.
“I was playing in a practice round on Sunday with some friends and on the 15th hole, I hit a drive that looked like I topped it, it went about 60 yards,” he told NCG. “I thought that was a bit strange, I don’t normally do that.
“I teed up another a ball and did exactly the same thing and I was like ‘That’s the driver broken’. Luckily, a friend works at the North Berwick pro shop and got me a replacement head the next day, which was pretty helpful.”
The crack in his TaylorMade Stealth driver explained why he’d been “hitting it all over the place” off the tee.
But with his big stick fixed, he headed to Fairmont St. Andrews on Tuesday to earn a place in the field in which next week Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey and a host of LIV Golf players are entered.
The assistant professional at Kilspindie Golf Club left Edinburgh at 7.15 am to give himself plenty of time to make his 10 am slot.
But a crash ahead caused a significant pile-up and left him stranded for roughly two and a half hours.
“All the cars were on each side of the road to let the emergency services come past. We were just waiting around there and that was about 8 o’clock, and it was about 10.30 am when it cleared up,” he added.
“I’d basically given up on it because I’d lost my tee time, and that’ll be it.”
Paterson contacted the tournament about 15 minutes into the delay to tell them his situation, which was understood as he wasn’t the only player in the traffic jam.
“If you miss your tee time in golf, that’s kind of tough luck, you’re out. Luckily, they (the tour) were very good and there was another guy in the field in the same situation, and they said it’s not your fault.”
The 27-year-old is familiar with the Fairmont links having played there during his time at Aberdeen University. He also played a PGA event at the course in 2022.
Paterson eventually teed off at 1.30 pm and despite admitting his hopes weren’t high, he carded a 5-under 67 to seal a place at next week’s event alongside some stars of the game.
The St Andrews Bay Championship will be the biggest event he’s played in so far, having competed in one EuroPro Tour event, as well as PGA Scotland tournaments and on Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Tour.
Paterson, a member at Kilspindie since the age of 11, will now pack in the practice with a pro-am at Dumfries before heading back to Fairmont on Monday to fully prepare for his Asian Tour debut.
“There’s absolutely no expectations basically,” he added. “I’m just going to enjoy myself and if I play well, great. If I don’t, it’s a great experience.”
The St Andrews Bay Championship will be played on the Torrance course starting on August 24 – one week after a handful of LIV golfers tee it up at the International Series England event at Close House.
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