A nightmare final round cost Jimmy Heggarty dearly as he missed out on a Senior Tour card for 2012 at Qualifying School in Portugal.
After opening rounds of 70, 71 and 70 had put the Claremorris man in contention, a final-round 78 saw him tumble from two under par to five over, well adrift of the qualifying mark at Vale da Pinta.
American Dick Mast ended the week at 14 under par to earn one of the six full cards for this year’s Senior Tour, with Paul Wesselingh, Zeke P Martinez, Steve Cipa, Rick Gibson and Jeff Hall also doing enough to secure full playing rights for 2012.
On the course he topped the 2008 Senior Tour Q School, Heggarty could only manage a tie for 28th, meaning he missed out on one of the 12 conditional tour cards also on offer.
After only earning €8,536 last season, this week’s disappointment comes as another blow to the Ulsterman and marks a sharp decline from the 2009 season which saw him win more than €63,000.
After his win, Mast said: ““It is a big privilege to get onto the European Senior Tour.
“I’ve not been exempt on the US Champions Tour since 2007 and I’ve always wanted to come over here and play more than I have.
“I came over in 2006 for The Senior Open for the first time and had a great time at Turnberry and I’m looking forward to coming back and getting to know people over here.
“Hopefully I can play some good golf too. It was my goal to win the Qualifying School but it was a difficult challenge.
“I’d like to win a tournament and get some momentum going into The Senior Open Championship back at Turnberry.
“I’d also like to try to qualify for The Open itself so hopefully this win can be a momentum builder. I’m really looking forward to coming over and seeing Europe.”