Paul Shields on song with top-five Belfry finish

PAUL Shields sneaked up on the rails to secure a top-five finish at The Belfry in the opening event on this season’s PGA EuroPro Tour.

Paul Shields grabbed his fourth top-10 finish in less than a year. Picture: PA

“I played good all week yet was never leading or near the lead at any point, apart from the end,” said the Kirkhill player of his encouraging effort at the Ryder Cup venue.

It was his fourth top-10 finish in less than a year on the third-tier circuit, which is in Scotland this week for the first of four visits this season.

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The Eagle Orchid Scottish Masters, a 54-hole event carrying a £10,000 top prize, gets under way today at Montrose Links, where Shields spearheads a sizeable tartan contingent.

“I played five tournaments on the All-American Gateway Tour in Arizona when I was away for nine weeks over the winter,” said the Kirkhill player.

“I was able to do some great practice after working with my coach, Brian Gemmell, and hopefully I can continue my good form this week and be in with a chance come Thursday evening.”

Shields also has one eye on next week’s Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship, having qualified for the Tartan Tour’s flagship event at Crieff.

“My EuroPro Tour membership category allows me to take part in Tartan Tour events and I’m really looking forward to playing the King’s Course,” he said.

Englishman William Harrold, winner at The Belfry, heads a field in Angus that includes two Walker Cup winners, Graham Rankin and Gary Wolstenholme, as well as former Scottish Amateur champions in David Law and Callum Macaulay.