From Brian Keogh at San Roque
Damian Mooney and Michael McGeady exited the European Tour Qualifying School Finals as Stephen Browne and Colm Moriarty survived the cut on the one-over par limit.
Browne racked up five birdies in the space on 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 there was no luck for Belfast’s Mooney, who charged to the turn in three under par before starting his back nine, double bogey - bogey for a 72 that left him six shots outside the 72-hole cut mark on seven over par.
It was an even more disappointing week for McGeady, who finish 154th in the 156-man field on 17 over par after a closing 77 and confessed that he needs to address his fitness to survive the 108-hole marathon in future.
“You need to be so fit,” McGeady said. “Yesterday morning I was standing on the first and I felt like I had just played 18 holes. I didn't play well and used up everything I had in the tank at PQ2 last week.”
Mooney was making his third appearance in the finals and while he was disappointed not to make it and concerned about what he described as an internal “self-destruct button”, he believes he is good enough to compete on tour.
“The positive thing is that I am here when many guys aren't,” Mooney said. “It is another opportunity and I have played well. I felt more comfortable than ever. On previous occasions I never felt I belonged.”
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.
Moriarty and Browne are just three strokes outside the top 30 and ties who will earn tour cards and the Dubliner believes he has momentum on his side after his second successive 70.
Browne said: “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.
“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.”
Douglas man Peter O’Keeffe closed with a 75 to finish tied for 150th in the 156-man field on 15 over par but plans to play as many events as possible on next season's Challenge Tour.