Gareth Shaw had planned to spend this week at Galgorm prepping for the Northern Ireland Open Challenge, but a late invite to the Johnnie Walker Championship means that he’s in Gleneagles playing on the European Tour.
In financial terms, 2013 has already been Shaw’s most successful season as a professional but he has yet to secure his playing rights for 2014 and the 27-year-old knows that the clock is ticking.
Shaw’s plan at the start of the year was to try and earn an automatic Euro tour card by finishing in the top 15 of the Challenge Tour rankings but he admits that with more than three quarters of the season gone he has, ‘left himself a lot of work to do’ to achieve that ambition.
“My game has been solid but the really low scores you need on the Challenge Tour have been missing,” he added.
“I put have put myself into good positions a number of times but haven’t been able to finish it off. I have been a bit better recently in the final rounds and I’ve actually gone the right way instead of the wrong way.
“Simon Thornton [who won at St Omer in June] claims he got his card by playing well in the big event. That can make a big difference, but I have to make sure that I am far enough up the Challenge Tour rankings to get into all those events.”
Shaw has actually reserved his best performances this seasomn for his brief forays onto the European Tour but unfortunately, the money he has earned there doesn’t count towards his Challenge Tour ranking.
He is currently 59th (17,251 euros) on the Challenge Tour from 12 events and 127th (116,654 euros) on the European Tour from just four events. He’s stuck between the two tours with no guarantee of a job next season.
“At the end of the day, I have money, but in terms of next year I have nothing to show for it,” said Shaw.
“I have moved up the world ranking but that doesn’t actually give me anywhere to play. Had you offered me this current position at the start of the year, I would have grabbed it but looking towards next year, I would probably swap it for less money and a better position on the Challenge Tour.”
Meanwhile, Ballyclare golfer Gareth Maybin also returns to action today in Scotland.
Currently ranked 75th in the Race to Dubai standings’s Maybin’s focus is now on booking a place in the lucrative end of season events on the European Tour.
“It will be interesting to see how I perform over the next few weeks with that pressure off. I’m not sure exactly what the qualification process is for events like the Tour Championship in Dubai but I figure if you play well enough, you’ll book your place.”