Shaw relishing the Challenge in India

Gareth Shaw is looking forward to the 2013 season on the European Challenge Tour. Picture courtesy Getty ImagesGareth Shaw is relishing his return to the European Challenge Tour as the Northern Irishman enters the season-opening Gujarat Kensville Challenge this week with momentum on his side, writes the European Challenge Tour.

Shaw had a superb 2012 on the satellite Alps Tour, finishing Number One in the Rankings and earning a card for the Challenge Tour in the process.

The 27 year old now believes he is close to being back to the kind of form which made him a hotly-tipped prospect after a hugely successful career in the amateur ranks, which yielded two North of Ireland Championship victories and two European Team Championship trophies with Ireland.

“It feels good to be back on the Challenge Tour,” said the Lurgan man. “It’s my first time in India and I have been very impressed. The course is good, although very tricky around the greens.

“I’m feeling positive about the season as a whole. I did a lot of good things last year and was very happy with my progress. I did all the right things, from my team and my coaches, and it all seems to be going in the right direction again.

“Last year was great. I had been on the Challenge Tour for two and a half years and then fell off of it and it took me a while to get going again.

“It took another year to realise I was doing the wrong things so I made a conscious decision to do things right and last year was a big step forward. If I can keep doing that I’m confident of progressing even further and tightening up a few more parts of my game and if I can do that, you never know. Momentum is on my side.”

Shaw is all too aware of the difference in quality from the satellite tours to the Challenge Tour but feels he is better prepared than he has ever been to make an assault for a European Tour card.

“It’s a big step up to the Challenge Tour,” he said. “A lot of these guys will go on to win big European Tour events so hopefully I am one of them.

“I feel relaxed. I’m looking forward to getting going. Hopefully I can just play freely this week and pick my targets and see what happens. I don’t get too excited about the whole thing, I know what I have to do and what I have to control and if the ball goes where I want it I’ll do well.”