By Brian Keogh
Stephen Browne and Colm Moriarty were forced to pack their bags for the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School after both men missed out on the required top two finish at the Challenge Tour’s Apulia San Domeinco Grand Final in Italy.
Browne and Moriarty needed to take one of the top two spots to secure a Tour card through the top 20 on the Challenge Tour Rankings.
But Dubliner Browne closed with a level par 71 to finish tied 17th with Moriarty’s 68 good enough for 31st.
Browne did well to qualify for the Grand Final in the first place, claiming a dramatic runner up finish in the Toscana Open Italian Federation Cup the previous week.
The 33 year old needed to finish no worse than solo second to earn enough to make the top 45 on the rankings who qualified for the Grand Final.
And he did that in dramatic style when he finished birdie-birdie for a 68 and then watched as Finland’s Toni Karjalainen ran up a triple bogey at the 18th hole to leave him in second place on his own.
Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera won the Grand Final by a single stroke, securing the top prize of €42,800 to finish the season on top of the rankings with €128,927.
Moriarty was 34th in the final standings with €39,389 while Browne was 35th with €39,364.
World Cup partners Gareth Maybin (49th) and Michael Hoey (54th) failed to qualify for the Grand Final, though Maybin’s €29,388 from 10 starts secured his Challenge Tour card for next season.