Tak­ing his best shot

Adam Gal­lant says his game is round­ing into form as he pre­pares for open­ing round of Is­land am­a­teur

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON MAL­LOY

Im­prove­ments in his long and short games have Adam Gal­lant look­ing to con­tend for his first Cooke In­sur­ance Am­a­teur Golf Cham­pi­onship.

The first of three rounds starts this morn­ing at the Stan­hope Golf Course.

“I’ve al­ways con­sid­ered my­self a de­cent put­ter, but this year it’s re­ally set me apart I find,” Gal­lant said Thurs­day. “In­side 10 feet, I step up to it and feel like I’m go­ing to make it and, most of the times, it goes in the hole.”

The 24-year-old Summerside na­tive, who has been a mem­ber of the P.E.I. Ocean View Re­sort and Golf Club in his home­town since 2004, has al­ways been able to hit the ball far off the tee, but he has learned shorter drives can be more ef­fec­tive.

“Now I’m start­ing to find more fair­ways, which makes it eas­ier to hit it close to the hole and make those birdies,” he said.

“You have to put your­self in po­si­tion to hit that sec­ond shot and give your­self looks at birdies.”

Gal­lant has played in the Is­land’s player of the year series since grad­u­at­ing from the Or­der of Merit ju­nior cir­cuit.

Ini­tially, he said, it was a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing play­ing with the prov­ince’s best, but it has helped him im­prove his game and he en­joys mea­sur­ing him­self against those golfers ev­ery cou­ple of weeks.

“You need to be on in all facets of your game,” said Gal­lant, whose best fin­ish

on the series was a sec­ond in Summerside a cou­ple of years ago.

Gal­lant said he had a down year last sea­son, strug­gling to put con­sis­tent rounds to­gether, and noted it was hard to pin­point the rea­son.

“This year, I’m con­tin­u­ing to put the work in, and it’s pay­ing off.”

Gal­lant is sit­ting third in the player of the year series after two events. He fin­ished tied for fourth at Avon­dale and tied for sev­enth at Mill River. He is

round­ing into form and look­ing for three strong rounds this week.

“Com­ing into this week­end, my game is feel­ing pretty good,” he said.

“I found some­thing again and it feels pretty good right now.”

The am­a­teur is worth twice the points in the player of the year series, is used to de­ter­mine the Is­land squad for the At­lantic Golf Cham­pi­onship in New Brunswick and will fac­tor into the se­lec­tion of the Is­land squad com­pet­ing in New­found­land for the At­lantic Cup, for­merly known as the Mel Mur­ray Mar­itime Cup.

“It’s a very, very im­por­tant and pres­ti­gious golf tour­na­ment,” Gal­lant said of the am­a­teur.

“I try to peak my game right be­fore the am­a­teur. That’s the most im­por­tant time of the year, for me.”

With so much on the line, be­ing men­tally strong is crit­i­cal.

“If you hit a bad shot, you just have to shake it off and go hit the next one.”

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Adam Gal­lant chips onto the green dur­ing the Avon­dale Open. He is com­pet­ing in this year’s Cooke In­sur­ance Am­a­teur Golf Cham­pi­onship, be­gin­ning this morn­ing in Stan­hope.

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