Hutcheon edges past Moriarty and Higgins in storm-lashed Turkey

Greig Hutcheon. Picture: Tony Marshall/Getty Imags

Overnight leader Colm Moriarty shot 74 and David Higgins a 73 as they were overhauled by new pace-setter Greig Hutcheon and England's James Ruth at the season-ending PGA Play-offs in Turkey.

Hutcheon battled wind and rain to lead at the halfway stage, the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre pro making use of all his experience, including two previous victories in the Play-Offs, to shoot a level-par round of 71 and climb to the top of an ever-increasingly congested leaderboard.

Scoring was tough on the south coast of Turkey, as wind and rain battered Antalya Golf Club for the second successive day.

Hutcheon himself recalled how he lost an umbrella to the conditions, as strong winds battered the 13th fairway and snapped it clean in half.

The loss of his shelter will be a sacrifice worth making, though, if he can become the first man in history to win the PGA Play-Offs on three separate occasions.

On offer in Antalya is multiple European Tour and Challenge Tour starts as well as the £2,000 first-place prize.

While the event avoided the long delays that beset the first 18 holes, many of the field struggled to make inroads in the conditions. Only two,  Ruth (China Fleet) and Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf), were able to shoot a round under par.

Hutcheon’s round had looked to be unravelling after three bogeys on the back nine – that was until he saved par at the 18th, landing a sensational bunker shot from 155 yards to within eight feet of the pin in the process.

After 36 holes the Scotsman sits one shot clear of the rest of the field with a three-under-par total of 139.

“I’m pleased to be leading, it was so difficult out there and you were having to punch a five-wood to cover 180 yards,” he explained.

“I did well over the front nine – but then I reached the 13th and the heavens opened. I managed to hold it together, thankfully, and I’m glad that I’ve now got the lead.

“There’s a long way to go, I’m well aware of that – there’s 36 more holes so I need to keep playing well and try to minimise mistakes.”

Ruth’s excellent five-under-par round of 66, meanwhile, set an early benchmark that would not be beaten – and looked better the longer the day went on.

He made the most of the slightly calmer early conditions to card six birdies over his first 13 holes.

He now sits second on the leaderboard alongside PGA Cup player Gareth Wright, of West Linton.

Behind them on one-under-par are the Irish duo of Higgins and Moriarty, who had mixed days on the course.

Moriarty birdied the second and eagled the third to surge to seven under par but made four bogeys and a double from there to slip back to one under after a 74 alongside Higgins, who double bogeyed the last for a 73.

Clontarf's Eamonn Brady is tied 10th on three over after a 73.

PGA Play-Offs, PGA Sultan Course, Antalya Golf Club, 28 November 2015

139 (-3) Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre)

140 (-2) James Ruth (China Fleet), Gareth Wright (West Linton)

141 (-1)  David Higgins (Waterville), Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance).