Shaw under the spotlight at ‘home’ event

Gareth Shaw is under the spotlight this week at the Northern Ireland Open Challenge.
The 27-year-old, catapulted into the limelight by his fifth place finish at the Irish Open, has flirted successfully with the European Tour this season, but his ‘day-job’ is all about climbing those Challenge Tour rankings.
“The original target was to reach the European Tour via the Challenge Tour,” said the former North of Ireland Amateur champion.
“I have left myself with a lot of work to do. I have put myself into good positions a number of times but haven’t been able to finish it off. I have been a bit better recently in the final rounds, actually going the right way instead of the wrong way.
“My game has been solid but the really low scores have been missing and that is a bit of a problem with the top 15 [in the rankings] graduating automatically to the European Tour.”
Gareth, along with event ambassador Michael Hoey and rookie professional Alan Dunbar are likely to be the main focus of attention at the Ballymena venue during tournament week August 29 – September 1. 
“It will be a bit different for me at my ‘home’ event so to speak. The Irish Open [where he tied fifth] and the French Open [where he finished tied for 13th] has lifted my profile and people will be expecting a performance at Galgorm,” said Gareth.

“I don’t mind that really. I will feel a bit nervous before I get started, but hopefully I will settle down and play normally. I’m sure I will feel a bit of added pressure but up until this point in my career, I have responded pretty well to that type of situation. I hope to play well and contend, that would be great for the tournament.”

In financial terms, 2013 has already been Gareth’s most successful season as a professional but he has yet to secure his playing rights for 2014 and the 27-year-old knows that the clock is ticking.
Gareth has actually reserved his best performances this season for his brief forays onto the European Tour but unfortunately, the money he has earned there doesn’t count towards his Challenge Tour ranking.
He is currently 61st (17,251 euros) on the Challenge Tour from 12 events and 128th (116,654 euros) on the European Tour from just five events. He’s stuck between the two tours with no guarantee of a job next season.
“At the end of the day, I have money, but in terms of next year I have nothing to show for it,” said Gareth.
“I have moved up the world ranking but that doesn’t actually give me anywhere to play. Had you offered me this current position at the start of the year, I would have grabbed it but looking towards next year, I would probably swap it for less money and a better position on the Challenge Tour.”


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