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McGinley: I’ve learned plenty at Gleneagles

The next time Paul McGinley visits Gleneagles it will be by steam train in a month’s time and in the company of rival USA captain, Tom Watson to mark ‘A Year To Go’ celebrations to the 2014 Ryder Cup.

The duo will join politicians and other dignitaries aboard the September 23 train leaving Edinburgh for the Gleneagles Station and then the short journey to the PGA Centenary course.

However McGinley’s first stop is the Wales Open this week, where it’ll be full steam ahead for the start also of the year-long European Ryder Cup qualifying process.

McGinley left Gleneagles very much at ease with the PGA Centenary course. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course created controversy when it opened being the first golf ever in Scotland to have motorised cart paths and in recent years was lambasted by many players including Darren Clarke.

But after four rounds of close inspection and with the course now boasting better fairway drainage and a sub-air system beneath all greens, McGinley’s seemingly only real concern will be the eventual make-up of his side.

"I’ve learnt so much from playing in the event this week and it’s been interesting to see how the course played with not much rough compared to other years, when it was near US Open standard rough," said McGinley.

"I still don’t know what the answer is in terms of the course set-up but I will ask a lot of players who played this week, and also those who didn’t play because ultimately it’s not really my decision."

McGinley posted a final round 75 to finish in a share of 63rd place and 15 shots behind 22-year old rising England star, Tommy Fleetwood.

Fleetwood after a round of 70 then birdied the first extra play-off hole to deny Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher (67) and Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez (70) after the trio ended regulation play on 18 under.

Lowry finished the best of the Irish sharing 10th place on 14-under par but letting slip a top-five with two bogeys over his closing four holes.

Michael Hoey (68) was at 10-under par, Peter Lawrie (71) and Simon Thornton (74) at four under and Gareth Maybin (77) tied with McGinley on three under.