Peter Lawrie expelled from Tour School
Dubliner disqualified after refusing to sign card at Qualifying School
Players walk off a tee box in the morning mist at the European Tour Qualifying School Final in Girona. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Peter Lawrie kept his pencil in his pocket yet drew line under his season when he refused to sign his card and disqualified himself from the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya Resort.
At 10-over for the tournament through 11 holes of the third round, his race was run long before he mistakenly took what he described as an incorrect drop from a tree that wasn’t physically attached to the stake next to it on the par-five 12th.
He might have recorded an 86 if he had signed the card, but the 41-year old Dubliner, who finished 124th in the Race to Dubai this year on the back of 17 invitations, was already thinking ahead to 2016 and his chances of regaining his full playing rights from a lesser category.
“I won’t give up,” said Lawrie, who expects to get around 22 starts next season. “I have never been a giver-upper, so I will carry on and I will play next year though apart from the Irish Open, I won’t be seeking invites. I have had my fair share and it’s time for somebody else to get them.”
The will to go on is fading in Lawrie, who admits that it’s “the potential golden egg” or the big pay day that fuels his desire.
“It’s like anything,” Lawrie said. “Do you enjoy a job that is not giving you something back? The big problem is the potential golden egg. But sometimes you have to look at the expense account and weigh one up against the other.
“So I’ll play whatever I can get into next year. That’s the plan. From there, we will wait and see.”
Damien McGrane feels the same way and at 44, he knows he will struggle to compete with young guns like Swedish amateur Marcus Kinhult or Austrian Lukas Nemecz, who shot rounds of 65 and 66 on the Tour Course to lead the field by a stroke on 14-under par.
McGrane said he had to “grind” hard to shoot a four under 66 on the shorter course and at seven under par, he’s still a shot outside the top 25 and ties who will be awarded tour cards on Thursday night.
“It is a reasonable position,” the Kells grinder said. “I’m grinding but that’s just the way it has to be this week. It’s in the nature of it.”
Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan was pleased to finally convert his chances, coming home in five under 30 for a 66 on the Tour Course that catapulted him from 76th to tied 48th on four under.
Paul Dunne’s mediocre, level par 70 there dropped him from 36th to tied 55th on three under, five strokes outside the magic number but he’s hoping that he can move up considerably over the last three days on the tougher Stadium Course.
“It’s disappointing but I didn’t do anything well,” Dunne said. “I drove it badly and hit a lot of bad irons shots. But there are three more days, hopefully I can do a bit better on the tougher course.”
At three under, Dunne is just one strokes inside the top 70 and ties who make the four round cut tonight (Tues),
But while Simon Thornton is one outside the mark on one under after a three over 73 on the Tour Course, Headfort’s Brian Casey and Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee are preparing to pack their bags at six over and 10 over respectively.
“It was definitely better than yesterday,” joked McGee, who recovered from his nightmarish 87 on the Stadium Course on Sunday with a 73 as Casey shot a three over 75.
“One over not playing well, I did okay to scrape it round. Hopefully I wont’ have to go back to that course again - unless it is for the Spanish Open or the Ryder Cup.”