Ruaidhri McGee follows glorious 64 with a nightmarish 87

Irish man endures a round from hell at European Tour Final Qualifying Stage

Ruaidhri McGee had a day to forget in Girona on Sunday. Photograph: Getty Images

Ruaidhri McGee had a day to forget in Girona on Sunday. Photograph: Getty Images


Nowhere are the twin imposters of success and failure more in evidence than at the Final Stage of the Qualifying School where Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee followed his glorious opening 64 with a nightmarish 87 to all but kiss his European Tour hopes goodbye.

The 24-year old touring professional for Rosapenna was tied fourth overnight and on a high after opening his account with an immaculate, six under round on the easier Tour Course at PGA Catalunya Resort .

The plaudits poured in on social media but he found the tight and muscular Stadium Course a far tougher prospect and having dropped three shots to the turn, he collapsed on the back nine, coming home 12 over 48 for a 15 over 87 that was his worst score as a professional by six shots.

“What can you say, except sh*t,” ventured a crestfallen McGee, whose world fell apart when he followed a bogey six at the 12th with two visits to the lake en route to a quintuple bogey nine (three-putt included) at the downhill, water-protected, 425-yard 13th.

“Such is life,” sighed the affable, six feet four inch, gentle giant from Derry, who followed the nine with double bogeys at the 15th and 16th and bogeys at the last two. “Unfortunately, there is nobody to blame but myself.”

His 87 was also the worst score of the day by three stokes and relegated him for fourth to tied 154th in the 156-man field on nine over par.

With the top 25 and ties earning full European Tour cards after six rounds, McGee is 14 strokes outside the card places and 10 shots outside the Top 70 and ties who make the 72-hole cut on Tuesday, meaning he’s likely to be playing Challenge Tour golf again next season.

The other six Irishman in action at PGA Catalunya still have their options intact to a greater or lesser degree with some of the veterans confessing that lack of motivation is their biggest challenge.

“Everyone gets sick of their job and doesn’t want to do it and I went through that,” said 38-year old Simon Thornton, who shot a three under 67 at the Tour Course to lead the Irish challenge in joint 29th on four under par 138.

Six shots behind paces setters Filippo Bergamaschi of Italy and Lukas Nemecz of Austria, who both shot five under 65s on the shorter course to get to 10 under, Thornton has been battling his lack of desire as much as a niggling case of tennis elbow

“Being away from family is the part you hate,” said father of two Thornton, who’s played just 15 times this year. “I still love competing. But I went through a phase when I hated being away and I hated golf. Now I just hate being away. I still love golf.”

Greystones’ Paul Dunne hit 16 greens in regulation but holed nothing and had to get up and down brilliantly for par at his final hole for a two under 68 to remain two shots outside the magic number in joint 29th on three under alongside Damien McGrane, who had an eagle three, four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey in an adventurous 68 on the same course

The 44-year old Kells man feels outmatched by the young guns on Tour these days and says that while he has no interest in remaining on the circuit after losing his card this year, he still wants to give himself options for 2016.

“If it happens and if I have a desire next year to play, I’d love to have an option,” McGrane said. “But right now, I have no interest in playing.

“We all have a lifespan and once you get older and the golf is not as good as it used to be, you have to work an awful lot harder. And when you get older, it is very hard to work harder. You want to work less.”

As for the rest of the Irish, Kevin Phelan “played well” for a 72 on the Stadium Course but lies 76th on level par while Headfort’s Brian Casey and veteran Peter Lawrie shot 69s on the Tour Course but share 116th on three over.

European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage, PGA Catalunya Resort (Tour Course, Par 70; Stadium Course, Par 72), Girona

After 36 holes

132 F Bergamaschi (Ita) 67 65, L Nemecz (Aut) 67 65,

133 C Hanson (Eng) 70 63, M Kinhult (am) (Swe) 66 67,

134 M Palmer (RSA) 63 71, N Cullen (Aus) 61 73,

135 J Knutzon (USA) 67 68, R Finch (Eng) 69 66, M Pavon (Fra) 67 68,

136 J Hugo (RSA) 65 71, U Van Den Berg (RSA) 72 64, L Canter (Eng) 67 69, D Gavins (Eng) 71 65, E Goya (Arg) 73 63, H Joannes (Bel) 66 70, L Jensen (Den) 70 66, G King (Eng) 64 72, S Fernandez (am) (Esp) 64 72,

137 H Porteous (RSA) 65 72, F Fritsch (Ger) 68 69, P Shields (Sco) 67 70, J Sarasti (Esp) 69 68, A Otaegui (Esp) 74 63, F Laporta (Ita) 69 68, J Scrivener (Aus) 65 72, D Papadatos (Aus) 67 70, J Dantorp (Swe) 66 71, C Sordet (Fra) 71 66,

138 D Im (USA) 70 68, S Thornton (Irl) 71 67, R McGowan (Eng) 69 69, M Southgate (Eng) 72 66, R Santos (Por) 75 63, D Lloyd (RSA) 64 74, M Jonzon (Swe) 68 70,

139 M Delpodio (Ita) 72 67, J Guerrier (Fra) 69 70, J Sjöholm (Swe) 72 67, R Evans (Eng) 67 72, D Law (Sco) 67 72, K Ferrie (Eng) 70 69, N Bertasio (Ita) 71 68, M Foster (Eng) 71 68, P Dunne (Irl) 71 68, G Green (Mas) 69 70, F Mruzek (Cze) 68 71, C Costilla (Arg) 68 71, W Besseling (Ned) 68 71, D McGrane (Irl) 71 68,

140 C Berardo (Fra) 76 64, M Lafeber (Ned) 74 66, R McEvoy (Eng) 66 74, D Dixon (Eng) 72 68, R Coles (Eng) 72 68, A Karlsson (Swe) 67 73, A Hartø (Den) 72 68, T Gornik (Slo) 68 72, S Manley (Wal) 66 74, K Samooja (Fin) 66 74, D Huizing (Ned) 68 72, O Henningsson (Swe) 73 67, R Kellett (Sco) 75 65, S Henry (Sco) 71 69, N Ravano (Ita) 75 65, P Howard (Eng) 73 67,

141 S Hansen (Den) 67 74, M Brown (Nzl) 69 72, R Johnson (Swe) 71 70, J Robinson (Eng) 72 69, F Andersson Hed (Swe) 73 68, S Arnold (Aus) 70 71, T Murray (Eng) 69 72, J Walters (RSA) 68 73, D Burmester (RSA) 74 67, M Crespi (Ita) 74 67,

142 J Senior (Eng) 74 68, G Axell (Swe) 74 68, D Van Tonder (RSA) 72 70, K Phelan (Irl) 70 72, N Holman (Aus) 70 72, J Sandelin (Swe) 71 71, C Koerbler (Aut) 73 69, J Lara (Esp) 71 71, M Orrin (Eng) 76 66, O Stark (Swe) 77 65, J Doherty (Sco) 69 73, C Ford (Eng) 71 71, J White (Eng) 68 74, J Rutherford (Eng) 71 71, L Gagli (Ita) 71 71, A Chesters (Eng) 73 69, B Neil (Sco) 73 69, D Gaunt (Aus) 68 74, R Roussel (am) (Fra) 70 72,

143 P Oriol (Esp) 70 73, M Lundberg (Swe) 75 68, C Del Moral (Esp) 74 69, J Mullen (Eng) 74 69, S Soderberg (Swe) 74 69, D Bransdon (Aus) 72 71, P Mejow (Ger) 74 69, P Angles (Esp) 63 80, E Molinari (Ita) 66 77, P Hedblom (Swe) 69 74,

144 P Widegren (Swe) 71 73, S Walker (Eng) 68 76, J Lima (Por) 74 70, D Kataoka (Jpn) 76 68, D Foos (Ger) 74 70, J Loughrey (Eng) 72 72, A Saddier (Fra) 73 71, M Wiegele (Aut) 69 75, S Brown (Eng) 73 71, A Tadini (Ita) 73 71, P Whiteford (Sco) 74 70,

145 B Casey (Irl) 76 69, C Pigem (Esp) 70 75, B Pettersson (Swe) 73 72, J Hahn (USA) 71 74, E Kofstad (Nor) 67 78, R Fox (Nzl) 68 77, J Edfors (Swe) 76 69, V Riu (Fra) 74 71, P Lawrie (Irl) 76 69,

146 J Huldahl (Den) 66 80, A Wejshag (Swe) 71 75, R Saxton (Ned) 74 72, B Hafthorsson (Isl) 74 72, A Murdaca (Aus) 72 74, M Laskey (Wal) 72 74, J Wrisdale (Eng) 74 72, J Cafourek (Cze) 69 77, G Murray (Sco) 76 70, N Lemke (Swe) 76 70,

147 J Smith (Eng) 76 71, B Ritthammer (Ger) 70 77, M Wallace (Eng) 71 76, R Gonzalez (Arg) 79 68, G Piris Mateu (Esp) 70 77, D Vancsik (Arg) 70 77,

148 M Nixon (Eng) 72 76, D Woltman (USA) 76 72, M Søgaard (Den) 70 78, C Blomstrand (Swe) 75 73, M Welch (USA) 75 73,

149 P Tarver-Jones (Eng) 74 75, J Lucquin (Fra) 72 77, J Higginbottom (Aus) 75 74, S Jeppesen (Swe) 78 71,

150 P Martin Benavides (Esp) 74 76, T Sinnott (Aus) 82 68, C Feldborg Nielsen (Swe) 72 78, N Dougherty (Eng) 76 74,

151 K Eriksson (Swe) 68 83, R McGee (Irl) 64 87,

154 E Cuartero Blanco (Esp) 74 80.

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