Maybin not giving up on Walker Cup spot

GARETH MAYBIN concedes he has to impress this week at Royal Portrush where the 22-year-old Walker Cup team candidate defends the Magners North of Ireland Amateur open championship.

The USA-based student hasn’t given up hope of making a debut for the GB and Ireland team in the September Walker Cup match against the United States at Ganton.

The Ballyclare player said: “The first priority this week is to make the top 64 from stroke play qualifying. You must never take anything for granted in this game, nor underestimate the difficult test players face on The Valley course.”

Maybin, winner of three tournaments on the collegiate circuit last season, spent some time on the mischievously undulating David Jones-designed greens at the Hilton Templepatrick.

It was part of fine-tuning, after a fairly low-key experience with the Ireland six-man side in the European team Championship.

“I still use the conventional putter, an Odyssey. But I recently changed to the Claw grip, the one used by American professional Mark Calcavecchia. It is working well,” said Maybin, who was accompanied through practice by former Ballyclare Ulster Cup player Robin Mitchell.

“I feel my game is in good shape,” added the plus three handicapper, who has the additional incentive to try and impress Walker Cup team supremo Garth McGimpsey before the GB and Ireland side is named on August 3.

“I’m hoping to play well in both the North at Portrush and then the South of Ireland championship at Lahinch. I played nothing special in the European Team championship in the Czech Republic. You can play well at this level and still lose matches.

“I have been trying very hard. Obviously, Walker Cup team selectors have completed all their viewing of squad members. But I must try and play well at Portrush, and also in the South at the end of this month.”

Maybin, who will also compete in the European amateur individual championship, has accepted an invitation to play in the 54 holes PGA European Pro Tour event at Worsley Park, Manchester, on August 6-8.

“I was offered the invite during the British amateur championship, and I’ll give it a bash. I will also play in a few Scratch Cup events before I return to America for my third year at university on August 27.”

He has his American college psychology lecturer, Dr Williams, in tow at this week’s the Magners North of Ireland Amateur Open golf championship at Royal Portrush.

The lecturer from South Alabama University is on holiday in Northern Ireland, and will take a personal interest in the talented golfer’s handling of the tensions, trials and tribulations of defending the North title near the White Rocks.

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