Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Galbraith wants to prove he can challenge at a higher level

Aiming high: John Ross Galbraith hopes to showcase his talent at the Northern Ireland Open

Whitehead golfer John Ross Galbraith isn't heading to Galgorm Castle just to make up the numbers next week.

The 20-year-old is one of four up and coming Ulster amateurs included in the field for The Northern Ireland Challenge, part of this season's European Challenge Tour schedule.

It'll be a first taste of a professional tournament for the former Ulster Boys and reigning Irish Close champion and one he is thoroughly looking forward to.

"It's going to be a great experience and I have to say it was something of a surprise to be one of the four guys chosen by the GUI, so thank you to them," he said.

"For me, it's going to be a great chance to really give me a good idea of where my game is at at the moment.

"I think this will be a slightly better standard than I'm used to on the amateur scene, but not that much.

"I'll certainly be targeting making the cut in the first place and then see if I can take it on from there."

Galbraith, who is currently playing of plus 2.4, certainly isn't short on self-belief, but a certain measure of that is necessary for anyone looking to step up to the ranks of professional golf.

He has no immediate plans to do so and has his eyes on more success in the Irish amateur majors before calling time on that part of his career.

Certainly he wants to add his name to the list of North of Ireland champions and he has become a fixture in the knockout stages of that tournament in the last couple of years.

He also knows his own mind well and has dispensed with the services of a coach for the past 12 months or so.

"I just feel I know my own game really well and I'm able to work out things well on my own," he explained.

"I'm playing a lot of golf all the time and constantly working to get better and it has been paying off.

"The main thing I have improved on over the past couple of years or so is my level of consistency and in particular my putting.

"I have had a tendency to be a bit streaky on the greens, and that's something I have been working really hard on."

Galbraith is joined in the field next week by local favourite Dermot McElroy from Ballymena, Cormac Sharvin from Ardglass and Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell.

McElroy is a veteran of pro events these days, having played in this event last year and a couple of Irish Opens, but for Galbraith it will be a good chance to play with Challenge Tour regulars.

"It'll be something different," he said. "I love playing on the Irish amateur circuit.

"I've got to know everyone on the circuit well and they are team-mates as well as fellow competitors and I can count them all as friends.

"It'll be interesting to play with those guys who are used to playing regularly on the Challenge Tour circuit.

"Hopefully I can make the cut and have a good weekend and that might open the door to playing another few professional tournaments."

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