Shaw makes most of Irish Open chance

GARETH Shaw produced his best golf when it really mattered yesterday to  finish tied fifth at the Irish Open and, in the process, earn himself a spot in the French Open.
The Galgorm Castle representative, playing this year on the Challenge Tour, only secured a place at Carton House at the last minute following Simon Thornton’s victory in St Omer.
However, the 27-year-old grabbed the opportunity with both hands to earn the biggest cheque of his career and, more importantly, give himself a huge shot of confidence.
“I played really well down the stretch today and am delighted about my finish,” said a beaming Shaw who signed for a 69 to end the tournament on eight under par.

“It is a nice cheque. That is an added bonus but it helps more than that, it helps me internally. It gives me belief that I belong. Everyone else has been telling me that, but I am starting to see it for myself and that is huge.”

Starting the day at five under, Gareth made a shaky start dropping shots at his opening two holes but he responded in style, playing the remaining 16 in five under, which included an eagle at the short par 13th, when his drive found the green and he then holed the putt from 40 feet.
“After the first couple of shots today I was thinking, right, let’s break 80,” said the two-time North of Ireland Amateur champion.
“It was nerves, I felt different this morning than I have all week but I am delighted that I was able to steady the ship so well and keep going.
“My pitch in at four changed everything. I hit a poor tee shot on four and then laid up long and right of the green, it wasn’t a hard shot but it was a tricky shot and it was just perfect.
“That changed my outlook. You kind of go from not getting up and down very easily and going to three over instead of one over. It frees you up, it’s a birdie and it really helps.
“After six weeks on the road, I was looking forward to spending a week at home and chilling but I guess I can’t be too disappointed that I’ll be in Paris.”


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