Q-School boost for Higgins

Waterville's David Higgins holed a long bomb at the last to boost his European Tour card bid at San Roque.

The Kerry ace rammed home a 20-foot birdie putt at the 18th to card a level par 72 on the New Course in the weather-extended Final Qualifying School. Tied for 28th place, Higgins needs to remain in the top 30 after six rounds to retain his card.

He said: "I've played well this year but my best finishes came in the smaller events so I am here at the school again and I have to get on with it. I played nice steady golf in tough conditions. I am more than happy with a 72."

Ryder Cup hero Philip Walton crashed to a four over par 76 in high winds at the Sotogrande track as the remainder of the 156 strong field completed their opening rounds.

The Dubliner, 44,  lost a ball in bush at the fifth to run up a double bogey but was still happy enough with a round that also featured one birdie and three bogeys.

Walton said: "Given the conditions a 76 is not a disaster. I felt that I struck the ball well so I'm not  that unhappy with my start."

Norway's Eirik Tage Johansen retained the lead thanks to his seven under 65 on Thursday with English amateur Ollie Fisher, Finn Antti Ahokas and former Irish Open champion Patrik Sjoland tied for second place on four under.

Recent rain in the Cadiz area made the Old Course unplayable and forced officials to play the first two rounds on the New Course over four days.

That means that Walton and Higgins will not get to play their second rounds until tomorrow (Sunday) before both courses are used on Monday and Tuesday.

The top 70 and ties after four rounds progress to the last two days.