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Former Buckpool Golf Club four-day open winner Mark Geddes posts solid opening round in US PGA Championship at Kiawah island, while his family cheer him on back home in Buckie

By Craig Christie

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HIS roots lie in Buckie, but American golfer Mark Geddes is taking on the world by competing in this week's US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

American golfer Mark Geddes has strong family connections to Buckie and is a former Buckpool Open winner.
American golfer Mark Geddes has strong family connections to Buckie and is a former Buckpool Open winner.

The 28-year-old may have been born and brought up in Merseyside but his parents are from Buckie and he would regularly visit the Banffshire town to see his family.

On one of those visits, aged 15, Geddes entered Buckpool Golf Club's four-day open and stormed to victory in the scratch section.

Now he is a player on the PGA Tour and qualified for his first major last month, earning his place in this week's US PGA alongside the world's best.

The tourney is played at former Ryder Cup course Kiawah island in South Carolina, boasting the longest yardage in major championship history and the added obstacle of strong and unpredictable winds.

US PGA leaderboard

Geddes battled the elements to shoot an opening round 75, matching the score of multiple major winner Rory McIlroy who won the US PGA by a record eight shots when it was last played at Kiawah Island in 2012.

He is tied for 77th in a field of 156, alongside McIlroy and 2018 US PGA champ Justin Thomas and ahead of the likes of double major winner Dustin Johnson and former Masters champ Sergio Garcia.

Mark's father William still lives in Merseyside, and his mother Elizabeth Sutherland is from Buckie.

His uncle, Brian Geddes, who still lives in Buckie, was thrilled to see Mark performing well in the biggest tournament of his life.

"He tried to qualify for the Masters twice and he got to the final qualifying round both times but just didn’t make it," said Brian.

"But he qualified for this one and he's holding his own, so it’s a great achievement.

"He used to come up to Buckie all the time on holidays and see his grandad (Eric Geddes), and he won the four-day scratch at Buckpool when he was 15.

"He went to America to do a scholarship (Grand Canyon University) when he was 18 and he's a club pro in California (at Brian Smock Golf in Coronada)."

English by birth, Mark gained US citizenship as he has now been based in the States for the past decade. He is married with a young child.

He turned professional in 2014 and last year he gained his full PGA membership after topping the Omega APA (Associate Professional Association) player of the year rankings.

In April he entered the PGA Professional Championship, where the top 20 players qualify for the US PGA.

Playing the Wanamaker course in Florida, he was firmly on track for his top 20 slot until a run of four bogeys in five holes on the back nine of his final round saw him threaten to miss the cut.

However, a crucial birdie on 16 saw him finish tied for 17th place with four other golfers, meaning one had to drop out and a nerve-wracking play-off between the five contenders took place.

American Cody Haughton missed an eight-foot par putt on the first extra hole, meaning Mark had won his place in a major tournament.

In yesterday's first round played in treacherous conditions at Kiawah Island's Ocean course, right on the cusp of the Atlantic, Geddes bogeyed three of the first five holes but birdied 7 and 13 to push up the rankings.

Geddes dropped a shot at the 14th, birdied 16 but then bogeyed each of the last two holes for a three over par total of 75.

Canadian Corey Conners leads by two shots after a round of 67, but just seven players broke 70.

Geddes, who is in the final group teeing off their second round today at 7.37pm, British time, will make the halfway cut if he can hold his current position in the field.

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