Graeme McDowell finished tied 24th behind Justin Rose in the UBS Hong Kong Open but it was disappointing European Tour campaign for the Irish as the regular season ended in Asia.
Just four of the 13 players who played European Tour events this year—Paul McGinley played just seven times and didn’t count—did enough to finish in the Top 110 who retain their cards.
They were Race toi Dubai leader Rory McIlroy, fifth ranked Shane Lowry, 65th ranked Graeme McDowell and 86th ranked Michael Hoey.
Exempt major winners such as Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke were 120th and 141st respectively, Gareth Maybin play just eight times before being struck down by injury while Peter Lawrie (125th), Kevin Phelan (126th) and Damien McGrane (159th) must go to Q-School if they want to win full playing rights for 2016.
In short, it was a year to forget and while McIlroy and Lowry are still vying for the Race to Dubai title, Ireland will have a reduced presence on tour next year unless there is a major influx on new blood via the Q-School.
Eleven players came through the First Stage of Tour School and will be joined at Second Stage next month by the likes of Gareth Shaw and Chris Selfridge, who slipped to a 74 in the final round of the Foshan Open in China and failed to move into the top 45 in the Road to Oman rankings who make the Grand Final in a fortnight.
Rose won the Hong Kong Open, closing with a 68 to finish a stroke ahead of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard on 17 under as McDowell signed for a 68 to finish 11 strokes further back on six under.
As a result he leapfrogged Lowry to go fourth in the Race to Dubai standings and gave himself a chance of winning the Harry Vardon Trophy for the second time since 2007.
As for the Foshan Open, Spain’s Borja Virto Astudillo sealed a wire-to-wire victory to book his place on the European Tour for the 2016 season.
The 24 year old moved from 15th to third in the Road to Oman courtesy of his two-shot triumph at the lucrative $500,000 event, the penultimate tournament of the 2015 European Challenge Tour campaign.
Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia leap-frogged Frenchman Sebastien Gros at the summit with just one event to play courtesy of a tied third place finish.
America John Hahn, who finished alongside Gouveia and Joachim B Hansen on 12 under par, moved to just inside the cut-off for European Tour graduation in 15th position, from 30th.
It was a huge week too for Englishman Chris Hanson, whose tied 12th finish moved him from 48th to 44th, securing a place in the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, while Belgian Hugues Joannes’ tied eighth place finish also earned him a ticket to Muscat after moving from 54th to 44th.
Scot Peter Whiteford, who entered the week just outside the bubble, did enough with a tied 24th finish to snatch the 45th and final spot in the Grand Final.
Selfridge's 74 saw him fall from fifth overnight to tied 17th in China and end up 52nd in the Road to Oman Rankings, just under €6,000 of a place in Oman despite making 12 cheques from 12 starts in his rookie season.
- 1 MCILROY Rory NIR 9 3,012,0005
- 5 LOWRY Shane IRL 14 2,455,749
- 65 MCDOWELL Graeme NIR 17 466,587
- 86 HOEY Michael NIR 28 326,675
- 120 HARRINGTON Padraig 13 216,766
- 125 LAWRIE Peter 28 187,296
- 126 PHELAN Kevin 21 187,214
- 141 CLARKE Darren NIR 19 147,388
- 159 MCGRANE Damien 30 107,605
- 170 DUNNE Paul 3 91,023
- 211 THORNTON Simon 8 31,074
- 234 MAYBIN Gareth NIR 8 15,286
- 282 MCGEE Ruaidhri 1 2,880
- -- MCGINLEY Paul 7 7,928
- 27 Ruaidhri MCGEE 20 €53,427
- 52 Chris SELFRIDGE 12 €30,589
- 73 Gareth SHAW 13 €19,079
- 129 Michael McGEADY 10 €8,358
- 136 Simon THORNTON 9 €7,167
- 167 Alan DUNBAR 5 €2,690
- 175 Richard KILPATRICK NIR 4 €2,238
- 203 Stephen GRANT 7 €586