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