Brian Keogh at San Roque
Stephen Browne and Colm Moriarty survived the cut by the skin of their teeth as Peter O’Keeffe exited the European Tour Qualifying School Finals disappointed but pleased with his progression as a player this season.
Browne racked up five birdies in the space of six holes to card a fourth round 70 on the New Course as Moriarty slithered to a 75 on the Old with three dropped shots in his last four holes.
But they will play the together on the Old Course at San Roque today after making the 72-hole cut for the top-70 and ties in a share of 60th place on the one-over par limit - three shots outside the top 30 and ties who will earn cards tomorrow.
“The momentum is on my side now,” said Browne after his second successive 70. “But where it really turned was yesterday, not playing well on the front nine and being able to turn my score around.
“I have come from quite a long way behind from 120th after two rounds to 60th. That's a big move and I have fewer spots to move up now.
“The pressure is mounting but this is what you play golf for. This is what you want. You want to be under pressure because it means you are playing well.
“Hopefully I can get myself right in the mix and feel the squeeze. I hate playing when there is nothing on the line. I love when you have to perform.”
Moriarty double bogeyed the sixth, his 15th, and bogeyed the ninth on his way home but believes that chasing a top 30 spot rather than defending it could be a blessing in disguise.
“It is disappointing to finish the way I did but at least I have got two rounds to repair the damage,” Moriarty said. “In some ways, being in the cards can make you a little defensive whereas being outside you can afford to be a little bit more aggressive and turn it into a positive.”
South Africa’s Thomas Aiken (68) and Spain's Pablo Larrazabal (70) lead by two shots from Welshman Sion Bebb on 10 under par while England’s Lee Slattery, who missed his card by just €77 this season, carded an eight under par 64 on the New Course to move into a seven-way tie for fourth place on seven under par.
Belfast’s Damian Mooney needed a 66 to make the cut but after playing the front nine in three under par, double bogeyed the 10th and bogeyed the 11th on the New Course to finish six shots outside the top 70 and ties on seven-over par after a level par 72.
Douglas man O’Keeffe closed with a 75 to finish tied for 150th in the 156-man field on 15 over par with Derry’s Michael McGeady two shots further back in 154th after a 77.
“It dawned on me yesterday that I have come a long way this year,” O’Keeffe said. “I always thought I was an underachiever as an amateur. I was very flat today, especially after last week. I am disappointed but it has been a good experience over all.
“I wasn't a bit tired. I just struggled with a few things technically and tried to find it and didn't. It would have been nice to compete because the courses suit me. Hopefully I can improve my ranking through some Challenge Tour events next year and get on the road.”
McGeady played poorly all week and confessed that he needs to address his fitness after feeling jaded on the first tee on Saturday.
“Moriarty called it a marathon and he's right,” McGeady said. “You need to be so fit. You need to be as mentally sharp on the 18th tee as you are on the first and yesterday morning I was standing on the first and I felt like I had just played 18 holes.
“My fitness is something I really have to address. But the agony is over this year. I didn't play well and used up everything I had in the tank at PQ2 last week. I never got it going at all - not even once. It’s back to the drawing board.”