Paul so close to Open

My best is yet to come, says 26-year Cam­bus­lang star But Kirkhill pro gut­ted to miss out

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Mur­ray Spooner

Shields just misses out on Royal Birk­dale place

Paul Shields be­lieves his best is yet to come af­ter he came ag­o­nis­ingly close to qual­i­fy­ing for the 2017 Open Cham­pi­onship.

The Kirkhill golfer was left gut­ted af­ter suf­fer­ing a four-way play-off de­feat at Gailes Links in Ayr­shire last week.

Tied third on two un­der fol­low­ing two rounds (72 and 68), Paul joined Dan­ish ace Martin Boel Ovesen, Eng­land’s Mark Young and Aus­tralian Ryan McCarthy in a bat­tle for the fi­nal spot at The Open’s 146th event next week.

Twenty-one-year-old am­a­teur Con­nor Syme shared first place with Amer­i­can Ju­lian Suri and McCarthy, of Tas­ma­nia, birdied the first ex­tra hole from eight feet to claim qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the play­off. This was at the ex­pense of Paul who fought valiantly in a test­ing wind that whipped up af­ter heavy morn­ing rain.

The 26-year-old Cam­bus­lang man said he was dis­ap­pointed to miss out on join­ing the world’s best golfers at Royal Birk­dale in less than two weeks’ time but could take con­fi­dence from his good run of form.

“I lost the play-off but it was good to get there and have a chance of qual­i­fy­ing for The Open,” said the Paul Lawrie Golf Cen­tre mem­ber. “It’s a dream to play The Open and I’ve been play­ing well and felt I had played well enough to get through.

“The Aus­tralian hit a birdie and we all parred it. It was just one of those days.

“It was wet in the morn­ing and the wind kicked up later which made it a bit dif­fi­cult.

“But to have got a chance of qual­i­fy­ing on the last 18, it was a shame to just miss out on such a big op­por­tu­nity.”

Paul also came nar­rowly close to qual­i­fy­ing for the Scot­tish Open at the week­end.

Fin­ish­ing 10th over­all at two un­der was just four shots short of earn­ing him a spot in the play-off for the event held at Dun­don­ald Links from July 13-16.

His fo­cus now is to qual­ify for Tour School in an at­tempt to win him­self a Euro­pean Tour card for 2018.

“I’ve played on the Euro­pean Chal­lenge Tour so I’ve got ex­pe­ri­ence from that,” he said. “It’s about iron­ing out those mis­takes and faults from last year.

“I was play­ing in the qual­i­fy­ing for the Scot­tish Open and missed out by a cou­ple of shots as well so I’m get­ting there. “I feel like I am get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter and I feel I’m play­ing some good golf, it’s just a shame there weres only three spots. “Now I’m fo­cussing on get­ting into the Tour School. “I got there in 2015 but I think the nerves started to get to me a bit and I was a bit im­ma­ture as a golfer. “I never got the full card but to make it to that stage meant I was no flash in the pan. It’s just those fine

So near Kirkhill’s Paul Shields just missed out on a spot in the Open

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