Moriarty wants big finale

By Brian Keogh

Colm Moriarty wants to turn a good year into a great one by grabbing his European Tour card this week.

The Glasson battler, 28, is making his third appearance in the nerve-shredding European Tour Qualifying School Finals at San Roque.

And while he missed a gold opportunity to grab his card through the top 20 in the Challenge Tour rankings after winning in July, he's ready to take advantage of his last chance saloon in the six-round marathon.

After finishing 34th in the rankings, Moriarty said: "I played well this season but near the end I wasn't quite as sharp as I had been early on in the year.

"The win in Wales put me in contention for a card and I was right in the shake up at one stage at 23rd in the rankings.

"The end of the season was disappointing though, but I have a chance to finish off the job this week and turn a good year in to a great one.

"This is my third time here and I have learned that patience is a huge thing over six rounds.

"You don't have to play brilliantly all week to get through and it is important not to get too down on yourself over a few slack shots."

Five Irishman are in the 156-man field and their first objective is to make the cut for top 70 and ties after four rounds.

Making the last two rounds guarantees a full Challenge Tour card next year but Stephen Browne, Peter O'Keeffe, Damian Mooney and Michael McGeady all have their sights set on the big prize.

The top 30 and ties after six rounds get European Tour cards and Browne knows he can do it after pulling it off in 2004.

Delighted to make it to the School after a fast finish to a poor year, Browne said: "You just want to get out there and get going at this stage.

"Some guys come here on a downer after losing their tour cards, but it has all been positive for me recently getting into the to 45 on the Challenge Tour to make the Q School.

"Coming here is great for me after missing out on PQ2 coming off the main tour last year. I was on a downer then but it feels much more positive this time."

Browne, McGeady and Moriarty are sharing a house on the course this week.

And while he's not too happy with Moriarty's lack of cooking skills, McGeady feels ready to claim his place at golf's top table.

Forced to come through two stages of the Q-School after poor putting led to a disastrous Challenge Tour season, the Derry man reckons he has a great chance of making the grade.

McGeady said: "It's just like a normal Challenge Tour event with all the familiar faces. I am not intimidated so I will just go out to play my game.

"Stephen, Colm and I are all staying at a house on the course here so there's been a bit of cooking going on. Browne's omelettes are quite good actually but Moriarty hasn't set foot in the kitchen!

"As for my game, I'm playing well and I have addressed some of the problems I have had with my putting and worked on it with Brendan McDaid.

"I was never that bad from tee to green but I was in denial about my putting. As the old saying goes, you drive for show and you putt for dough. If you are playing badly, you can save it with good putting.

"I am putting a lot better and feeling a lot better on the greens. I had a Challenge Tour category this year but never took advantage and played terribly all year.

"Making the cut here is the first goal I have set myself. Anything after that is a bonus but I would obviously like to make the top 30 and have a category on both tours next year."

Cork man O'Keeffe, 25, is delighted that he didn't make this year's Irish team for the Home Internationals.

After battling for an Irish cap for the past three years, he confessed that missing out this year has turned into a blessing in disguise.

He said: "This year it was disappointed not to make the Irish team for the Home Internationals but in hindsight it was a blessing in disguise because I would have missed the first stage of the Qualifying School.

"I was available for Ireland right up until the last minute but the call never came. Now I'm just delighted that it didn't because I would be here."

After turning professional this week, O'Keeffe believes six rounds of par golf will be enough to earn his Tour card.

He said: "All I have to keep all the disasters off the card and see where that leaves me. Studying past results, anything around even par for six rounds will be enough. I have gone through the stats."