Golf: Ryder Cup pair face uphill struggle

Philip Walton and Paul Broadhurst are both looking to recapture the spirit of 1995 in Spain today.

Philip Walton and Paul Broadhurst are both looking to recapture the spirit of 1995 in Spain today.

In the space of 22 days six years ago Irishman Walton beat Colin Montgomerie in a play-off to win the English Open and then Broadhurst fired a closing course record 63 to win the French Open by a massive eight strokes.

The circumstances are somewhat different at San Roque.

The two former Ryder Cup stars are trying to keep their careers afloat at the European Tour qualifying school.

To make it through, Walton probably needs a course-record 64 and Broadhurst a 68 in the final round.

Broadhurst went into today joint 50th and Walton joint 70th, with only the top 35 and ties earning cards for next season’s circuit.

That makes it tense too for Hampshire’s Steve Richardson, the other Ryder Cup man in the field.

Richardson, who has come through the last two schools only to find himself back 12 months later, is 27th, but shares the position with 11 others.

‘‘You just have to try your hardest - that’s all you can do,’’ said Richardson, who went into water on his final hole yesterday to leave himself on a knife-edge.

Ten years ago he was runner-up to Seve Ballesteros on the Order of Merit with over £500,000 and a team-mate of Broadhurst’s at Kiawah Island.

Broadhurst was unbeaten there, but has failed to rediscover his game after suffering a wrist injury playing out of rough in Dubai last season.

Four successive bogeys yesterday, three of them the result of three-putting, gave him a mountain to climb, but not as high as the one faced by Walton.

Europe’s hero at Oak Hill in 1995, Walton is at the school for the third successive year and was bitterly disappointed by a fifth-round 75 after shooting a 65 at Sotogrande 24 hours earlier.

For Welshman David Park the hard work looks to have been done.

Another to suffer an injury setback in his career, Park has found his form again and went into today leading by one from South African Ian Hutchings on 17 under par.

To miss out on a card Park would probably have to score 84, while 19-year-old Liverpudlian Nick Dougherty, a star of the Walker Cup win in America in August, is eighth and may well be able to afford a 77.

But there is every incentive for them to produce another low round the higher the finish at the school the more chances to play next season.

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