Robin Dawson on a high but Gavin Moynihan struggling at European Tour Qualifying School

By Brian Keogh

Tramore’s Robin Dawson is brimming with confidence but Gavin Moynihan faces a race against time to beat a back injury and tee it up in the Final Stage of the gruelling European Tour Qualifying School in Spain today.

Moynihan felt his back go as he practiced his putting at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona yesterday and fears he may not be able to join Dawson and Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin at the Lakes Course for today’s first round of what he hopes will be a 108-hole battle to finish among the top 25 and ties who will be awarded European Tour cards.

“My golf has been much better for the past two months but I don’t know if I’ll be able to tee it up,” said 24-year-old Moynihan who won his card at Lumine last year, but failed to retain it. 

“My back gave in this morning and I’m in bad pain.” 

Dawson, who turned 22 yesterday, is convinced he has the game, not only to make the top 70 and ties after four rounds who are guaranteed Challenge Tour status, but to win his card.

“I am looking forward to the week,” said Dawson, who was tied sixth with Sharvin in Madrid on Monday and sees Q-School as just another stepping stone in his career. 

“I am playing nicely, and there’s no reason why I can’t go on and do the same this week. My mindset is just to keep doing what I am doing.”

He has an experienced bagman in Cliff Picking, who has been on tour for the last 20 years and caddied for David Carter when he beat Colin Montgomerie in a play-off for the 1998 Irish Open.

And while he is confident in his ability, seeing a host of former amateur rivals earn cards over the last 12 months has only reinforced his belief that he can follow in their footsteps.

“After getting a taste of it in the Alfred Dunhill Links and the Portuguese Masters, I feel my game is strong enough,” Dawson said. 

“I hit it long enough, which is key and I putt well, so those are two great assets to have in the game and this week.”

The 156-strong field features a host of familiar names, including former European Tour winners Matteo Manassero and Marc Warren and former Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson. 

They will play four rounds at the Lakes and Hills courses with the top 70 and ties qualifying for the final two rounds and the race to finish among the top 25 and ties.

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