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Jonathan Caldwell aims to leave dark side behind at Irish Open


Jonathan Caldwell is aiming for a great week at the Irish Open

Jonathan Caldwell is aiming for a great week at the Irish Open

©INPHO/Peter Fitzpatrick

Jonathan Caldwell is aiming for a great week at the Irish Open

The grind of playing week-in, week-out on the DP World Tour gets to many a golfer, what with the frequent travel from one venue to the next, having to sort out travel and accommodation and then trying to perform over four gruelling days of competition.

It's made even harder when you're searching for something in your game and the results aren't going your way, as has been the case for Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell heading into this week's Horizon Irish Open at Mount Juliet.

The 38-year-old has struggled for consistency, making just four cuts in 16 starts on Tour this year and his best finish is tied-28th only a couple of weeks ago in Sweden. A shoulder injury at the start of the season accounted for a slow start, but he admits it is no longer a problem and his recent struggles are down solely to form.

And yet the head hasn't dropped. Caldwell is realistic with where his game is coming into Mount Juliet but he also knows that one good week could flip his season on its head.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't frustrating. It's never nice to be playing poor golf," concedes the one-time DP World Tour winner.

"But I recognise that's the game. I've been playing it long enough and I've had bad patches before, so I know it won't last forever. Everyone goes through them and some guys are so good that they can still compete when they're off their game, but out here I need my A game or B game to have any chance, and certainly my C and D game isn't enough to get into the weekend.

"It's about working hard, doing the right things and it'll eventually turn around and results will improve. We've got some big weeks and big events coming up."

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Those big events he mentions just keep on coming, and Caldwell, courtesy of his win at last year's Scandinavian Mixed, has the reassurance of knowing he's playing in all of them.

The Irish Open is followed by the Genesis Scottish Open next week, which carries plenty of Race to Dubai points as a Rolex Series event, while the BMW PGA Championship is another significant one in September, and Caldwell knows that while he can't rest on his laurels, he has plenty of chances to turn things around.

"I have the seasonal goals, which are first and foremost to keep my card and then the next one is to reach the DP World Tour finals, although I would have needed a better start to the season to do that," he reveals.

"It's more about putting myself in position to have good finishes at the weekend and move up that order of merit. Out here, one week can make a huge difference, so if I can go out and get a bit of confidence in my game then I can take it from there."

Caldwell will hope that one week is this one in Co Kilkenny where he will take on a star-studded field headlined by Shane Lowry, Seamus Power and newly crowned US Senior's Open champion Padraig Harrington looking to pick up his second DP World Tour win.

Although he admits the wet weather, which has softened the course, has worked against him, the Clandeboye man strikes that optimistic tone again when he insists he can take the positives he has seen behind the scenes onto the first tee.

"Hopefully I'm starting to show some signs of playing better. I haven't been comfortable with my golf swing, really. I'm not making enough birdies, not making enough putts, but I'm also probably not hitting it close enough," admits Caldwell, who tees off alongside Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Troy Merritt at 8:20am on Thursday.

"I haven't felt overly confident with my irons, and I'm trying to get away from the technical aspect of things and where I should be during a swing and more reacting to targets and hitting different shapes.

"I've been working hard on the game and I'm starting to see some good signs. Hopefully I can bring that to the golf course."

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