THERE were “signs of the Paul Mayo of old” during the Wales Senior Open, according to the Newport golfer.

Mayo finished the 54-hole event tied 38th after rounds of 74, 74 and 70 left him on eight-over-par, 20 strokes behind winner Zhang Lianwei of China, who shot a stunning final-day 62.

He might not have set the Celtic Manor’s Roman Road course alight, but given that he has played sporadically over the last few years after being diagnosed with diabetes, Mayo was pleased with his performance.

“It wasn’t too bad,” he said. “I had two okay rounds and a decent last round of 70.

“Physically, I felt fit and strong, and it was a challenge mentally because I haven’t played much in that environment for a while.

“I enjoyed it and I saw some signs of the Paul Mayo of old which were really encouraging.

“I beat a couple of guys I had in my sights and there were 14 or 15 behind me at the end, and I had a few quid for playing a couple of rounds of golf, so it wasn’t too bad.

“There was nothing wrong with my game but there wasn’t anything really sparkling either.

“It’s like in any sport, if you’ve been out through illness or injury for a while you need to get game time under your belt to be match sharp again.

“I’ve had problems with my eyes and I wasn’t putting particularly well going into the tournament.

“But I worked at it and my putting on some very good greens was better than it has been.”

Mayo’s main focus now is qualifying for the Senior Open Championship, with this year’s event taking place at Carnoustie in Scotland.

“Qualifying is held on four courses around Carnoustie and it’s a one-round shoot-out between about 120 golfers for 10 or 12 spots,” he added.

“Next year the Senior Open is at Royal Porthcawl and then the year after that it is at St Andrews.

“I played there twice in the Open and would love to go back there again.”

Before then, a couple of Senior Masters Tour competitions await Mayo later this month.