Gareth Shaw sees grounds for optimism at Northern Ireland Open following lean spell
It's the nature of modern professional golf that Gareth Shaw is approaching veteran status at the ripe old age of 30.
"I feel that way sometimes. I played with two guys recently and they were 18 and 21 years old," said the Lurgan golfer, who joined the pro ranks in 2008 and has spent most of his career plying his trade on the Challenge Tour.
"When I first turned professional, I thought, 'if I'm not doing any good by the time I'm 30 I'll pack it in', but here I am looking forward to another tournament at Galgorm Castle.
"There are a few guys around my age that have been doing pretty well this year.
"Golf has that longevity. You can make a lot of money in your 40s so you just have to keep going."
The 2016 season has offered little encouragement in terms of results but Gareth has seen enough signs recently to give him grounds for optimism. It means that he's looking forward to having another crack at winning the NI Open.
"The start of the year was tough. Everything was six out of 10. I wasn't playing badly, I was just not playing well," he added.
"Recently my driving has come on a lot and my putting is has been fantastic. If I can somehow get it all to click, who knows?"
Gareth finished tied for 42nd last year at Galgorm, a full 13 shots behind the winner, Frenchman Clément Sordet, who is returning to defend his title.
"This is by far the best professional event I have played in, it felt like a European Tour event," said Sordet, who notched up another win in Turkey earlier this year and also competed in recent Open Championship at Royal Troon.
"I am looking forward to getting back to Galgorm to defend my Northern Ireland Open title. It was my first professional win and hopefully I can go back and win again."
Although the countdown is on, there is still time to register for free tickets by logging on to niopen.golf or keeping up to date with all the family activities through the NI Open app, which can be downloaded for iphone and android devices.
The Tayto Northern Ireland Open, in partnership with Ulster Bank, gets under way with the Pro-Am tomorrow.