Kirkhill star wins a place on Euro­pean Chal­lenge Tour

Rutherglen Reformer - - Sport - Mur­ray Spooner

A for­mer Trin­ity High School stu­dent has won a 2016 Chal­lenge Tour card af­ter com­pet­ing with hun­dreds of golfers for a top prize.

Paul Shields (24), made the cut for the tour af­ter play­ing in a six-round marathon at the PGA Catalunya re­sort in the north east of Spain ear­lier this month.

The mem­ber of Kirkhill Golf Club in Cam­bus­lang was com­pet­ing at the Euro­pean Tour Qual­i­fy­ing School fi­nals.

He was play­ing for a Euro­pean Tour card where there was just 25 up for grabs. Paul nar­rowly missed out but for­tu­nately fin­ished high up in the leader board, from a start­ing field of 156, to claim a Chal­lenge Tour card.

He will now take up a place on the 2016 Euro­pean Chal­lenge Tour.

He said: “It was played over two cour­ses at PGA Cataluya and it is a fan­tas­tic fa­cil­ity and the course is one of the hard­est.

“It’s tough and it’s got ev­ery shot you need to get round. There’s not really many lapses of con­cen­tra­tion you can have.

“I’d been play­ing great. I qual­i­fied the week be­fore at the sec­ond stage, so I knew I was play­ing good and it was just a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced the in­ten­sity or the longevity of the six rounds. It was just a strange for­mat but I adapted well and felt I did really well to get where I did to have a chance of get­ting a card go­ing into the back nine, I just couldn’t really get over the edge. But I’ll get there hope­fully.”

Paul trav­elled to Aus­tralia on Fri­day to play in the Aus­tralian PGA cham­pi­onship in his fi­nal com­pe­ti­tion of the year which starts tomorrow (De­cem­ber 3).

He re­flected on his six rounds and ex­pe­ri­ences of play­ing with some of the best play­ers in the world such as Ital­ian golfer, Edoardo Moli­nari, who was a

mem­ber of the 2010 Euro­pean Ry­der Cup win­ning team .

Paul said:“Ev­ery­body there is fight­ing to get their card.

“I think the av­er­age age of the guys that got their card from Bri­tain was some­thing like 31 so I shouldn’t be too dis­heart­ened.

“I knew I was play­ing well so I knew I had to stay pa­tient.

“When­ever you made a bo­gey you had to say to your­self that‘you’re play­ing 108 holes so you can’t get in a bad mood.

“You can’t get your­self down. It’s more of a men­tal chal­lenge than it is a golf chal­lenge.

“I played the last round with Edoardo Moli­nari and it was great ex­pe­ri­ence to play with him be­cause he was some player.

“He was a lovely guy and it shows you where you’ve come. You see him on the TV and now you’ve played with him, it’s like a pinch your­self mo­ment.”

Chas­ing cards Paul’s on the Chal­lenge Tour

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