No late fireworks from home contenders at Galgorm Castle

Joakim Lagergren

Joakim Lagergren

Long before Joakim Lagergren had rolled in the winning putt at the NI Open, the last of the home players had already vacated the premises at Galgorm Castle.
Unfortunately, there was no sustained challenge by the Irish contingent and there was no final day charge to fire up the spectators.
Gareth Shaw and Jonathan Caldwell were the best of the bunch, finishing tied 12th on six under par.
Shaw was relatively content with his final day effort, convinced he couldn’t have got much more out of a bad ball striking performance.
“It was a battling one under today. I had no control of the ball today and it was pretty brutal to be honest,” said the 29-year-old.
“I hit a few left yesterday, which I hate. And today it was much the same but overall I’m happy with one under.
“I holed a long putt on 12, and had a good two putt on 11 so it could have been a lot worse.”
Gareth’s  main concern centred on his inability to convert good starts into strong weekend displays.
“I can’t put my finger on it but it just seems to be the way at the moment,” he added.
“In Norway, Finland and now this week, the weekends have been poor.

“It’s strange and frustrating because it’s the business end of the week, where you earn your money and sometimes you feel like you’re throwing away money.

“If I had played well today, I might have been able to finish second or third, but that didn’t happen.”
Caldwell, playing in his first Challenge Tour event of the season, will now turn his attentions back to the closing stages of the Europro Tour season.
“It was a very enjoyable week. I played some good stuff, and some indifferent stuff,” said the 30-year-old who closed with a level par 71.
“I played solid today but probably could have holed a few more putts.
“It wasn’t easy scoring. The course held up well. The rough is up and greens are quick, it was  a really good test.”
Alan Dunbar, meanwhile, enjoyed his best round of the week, posting a flawless four under par 67 which moved him up to tied 44th.
“I really struggled the first three days, on the greens mainly,” said Dunbar who is already preparing for a return to Q-School.
“Today I decided I would go out, keep the head up, stay positively and I played nicely.”
The 24-year-old, who won the 2012 Amateur Championship, has struggled to make an impact in the professional ranks. His best result this year is a tie for 14th at the Challenge de Catalunya in April.
“I was struggling coming into this week. It had got on top of me a bit,” he said.
“I had been playing well for a long time in the middle of the season but got nothing out of it.
“I was beating myself up a bit more than I should have been so today I said ‘just enjoy it’ and I actually played pretty nicely.
“To shoot four under with no bogeys is a positive way to finish the event.”

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