Ireland’s Kevin Phelan secures European Tour card
Waterford man finished 10 under at PGA Catalunya
Kevin Phelan, seen here in action at the US Open at Merion, has earned his card for the European Tour. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images
Waterford native Kevin Phelan will play on the European Tour next season after claiming his card at the first attempt in the final qualifying event in Girona, Spain on Friday.
The 23-year-old former Walker player carded a three-under 69 on the Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya to finish in a tie for 17th position, a birdie at the 18th giving him breathing room with plenty of players left on the course.
It brings to an end a gruelling qualification road for Phelan, including six rounds this week and two previous stages of another four rounds each.
And Phelan certainly saved the best until last with his fifth straight under-par round on Friday.
Outside the qualification places at the start of his round, Phelan got off to the perfect start with back to back birdies and added a third gain at the fourth hole to get to 10 under.
A bogey at the fifth was followed by six straight pars before a birdie on the par-five 12th got him back to 10 under.
He wobbled with back to back bogeys on 13 and 14, but birdies on the 15th and the final hole proved enough to secure his card.
Kerry’s David Higgins finished with a level-par 72 that included a double-bogey and a triple-bogey, a bogey and six birdies.
That left him on level par for the tournament and a place on the Challenge Tour. he will be joined there by Rosapenna golfer Ruiadhri McGee, who closed with a two-over 73 to finish on three over.
Spain’s Carlos Del Moral proved a runaway winner of the event, a closing 67 bringing him to 26 under after six rounds.
That gave him victory by five shots over Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti, whose 68 saw him close on 21 under.
In total 27 players on playing rights on the European Tour, representing 15 countries.