JOHN GALLAGHER admits he’s taken longer than he’d have liked to find his feet in the professional ranks, but the Swanston New star is hopeful his career is ready to take off again this season.
Gallagher burst on to the amateur scene a decade ago, winning the Lothians Championship at Gullane in 2003 then becoming Scottish champion at Prestwick four years later.
He’s been unable to recapture that sort of form since switching to the paid ranks but has made an encouraging start to the new PGA EuroPro Tour season and is now aiming to kick on over the coming weeks.
“It has taken me longer than I’d have liked, but I don’t feel I’m far away from really starting to make my mark on the EuroPro Tour,” said the 31-year-old.
“When I first started to do well as an amateur, I was winning events in the Lothians but it took me time to find my feet in SGU events.
“I then won the Scottish Amateur and, as a result of that, I think a lot of people were expecting me to do well straight away after I turned professional.
“There’s no doubt I didn’t do as well as I was hoping for in the first couple of years, but I don’t think the people who come up to me and make comments about that see the wider picture.
“Playing on a professional Tour is a lot different to winning the club championship or the Lothians – it’s a big step up. But I feel really well prepared for this season and my aim is to try and earn a step up on to the Challenge Tour next year.”
Gallagher was over in Arizona over the winter and also paid a couple of trips to Spain to play on the Gecko Tour.
“My preparation for the season has been better than ever and I think that showed when I finished ninth at the EuroPro Tour Qualifying School,” he added.
“That was a lot better than I’d managed there in the past and last week I picked up some order of merit points by finishing 14th in the second event of the season at Lingfield Park.”
This year’s schedule includes two Scottish stops – at Mar Hall and Rowallan Castle, both in August. Gallagher is also hoping he can secure a spot in the Scottish Hydro Challenge at Spey Valley next month by being among the top five Scots on the order of merit when the invites are handed out.
“There are 16 events in total on this year’s EuroPro Tour schedule and, though it’s not cheap to play on it, it’s great experience,” he said. “I know that some people put it down, but the standard is frightening and we are playing on courses that are tough and long.”
To help raise funds for his current campaign, Gallagher is hosting a golf day at Swanston New tomorrow week. It’s the second year running he has organised such an event and it’s shaping up to be a success once again.
“Last year we had 53 teams,” he said. “This year we’ve got 48 at the moment and we still have people coming in.
“I need it to be successful so that the money I raise can help me this year, but, at the same time, I am determined that people get value for money and have a fantastic day.”
Anyone interested in playing in the event should contact Gallagher through Swanston New.