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Gareth Shaw's big break leaves him £88,000 richer in one week

By Jim Gracey

Ulster golf's new impact player Gareth Shaw gave up a planned week's holiday and ended up a €100,000 (£88,000) earner.

Glagorm professional Shaw, from Lurgan, was catapulted into the limelight after his impressive tied fifth finish at the Irish Open at Carton House, his first full European Tour event, which earned him by far the biggest cheque of his career, €61,920 (£50,000).

That top 10 finish also secured him a place in the €3m French Open at Le Golf National where an impressive joint 13th finish on Sunday against an even stronger field netted €44,220 (£38,000).

Before that, his earnings stood at €13,800 (£11,900) from nine events on the European Challenge Tour, the second tier men's professional golf tour in Europe and operated by the PGA European Tour.

Paris was a seventh consecutive tournament in as many weeks for the 27-year-old, who is currently 51st on the Challenge Tour standings.

"I don't feel tired," insisted an invigorated Shaw. "I had planned on taking two weeks off after the Irish Open but the opportunity to play in France came up. It's almost a major, a massive event, and I've got to keep going, keep riding the wave. The week at home went out the window but it was well worth it for another great opportunity"

Shaw travelled on the same flight from Belfast to Paris with Michael Hoey, tournament ambassador for the Northern Ireland Open Challenge which takes place at the end of August at Galgorm, the Co Antrim venue Shaw represents.

"It's great to see Gareth do well and take his opportunity," said Hoey. "He took full advantage after Simon Thornton's St Omer win got him a spot in the Irish Open and again with his big chance in France."

Those performances have given Shaw a taste at the top table of European golf and his parents, who supported and encouraged him in the tough transition from top amateur to the professional ranks are delighted to see him beginning to reap the rewards.

"We are both very proud. Gareth has worked so hard to get to this stage," said mum Heather. "Competing at this level has always been Gareth's dream and he deserves everything he gets."

Dad Mervyn added: "We're as proud as any parents could be right now."

Since turning pro as a plus three handicapper in 2008, two-time North of Ireland championship winner Shaw has cut his teeth on mini tours and made steady progress. It's a path he maintains will keep him grounded.

"I've worked hard, had a pretty good college career, started off okay on the Challenge Tour then struggled for a time on the mini tours where no one wants to be

"But I've come through all of that which will definitely help me appreciate the good times."

While taking advantage of great opportunities on the main European Tour, Shaw is still focused on the task in hand on the Challenge Tour. "We have another great showcase on home soil and in front of home crowds when the NI Open Challenge takes place at Galgorm in August," he said.

* TICKETS for the NI Open Challenge are on sale and can be purchased from Galgorm Castle Golf Club (028 2564 6161). Full details online at

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