It was a day of agony and missed chances for the four Irish golfers in the final Qualifying stage for next year’s European Tour at the PGA Catalunya resort in Girona yesterday.
Peter Lawrie (pictured), with a European Tour win to his name from 2008, was the biggest casualty after he missed out on full playing rights for 2015 by a single shot.
The Dubliner fired a one-under round of 71 for a total of six-under for the marathon six-day contest, but he needed to go one lower to sneak inside the top 25 and ties to guarantee himself a Tour card, which he has held for over a decade.
Similarly, Simon Thornton came within a whisker of retaining his status in the European Tour’s top rung next year, but bogeys on seven and 15 yesterday proved costly.
The Royal County Down man finished a shot behind his fellow Irishman on five under (following a one-under round of 71 also) but refused to be despondent about it all on a tension-filled day in sweltering north east Spain.
“It’s not the worst thing in the world, but I thought I played well enough to get my card,” the 37-year-old former European Tour winner reflected.
“I played alright but made some silly mistakes and that par 5 seventh cost me this week, because I did the same thing on Tuesday (bogeyed it). But that’s the way it goes.
“My bad shots were costly but that’s what happens.”
Thornton said he’ll be flinging the clubs in the corner for a couple of months now as he faces a return to the Challenge Tour, a circuit of lesser-ranked events he played in 2009 and 2011.
“That Tour doesn’t excite me but certainly getting my card back excites me, and that’s what we have to do to get there.”
Kevin Phelan had his worst day of the week after shooting seven bogeys in a four over round of 76 which saw him slip 24 places to tied 62th on level par.
The Waterford man said he simply wasn’t good enough and the experience will only steel him for the future.
“It was a great learning experience this week,” he remarked.
“I played really well tee to green but putting left me down. There were plenty of birdie chances out there. I had loads of chances but couldn’t really convert them and I struggled around the greens.”
The other Irishman in the field was Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin and he shot his joint-best round of the week with a 71 but that was only good enough for tied 58th.
Mikko Korhonen became the first Finnish winner in the history of the tournament when he shot a magnificent 67 for a total score of 20-under.
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