It was Patrik’s Day at San Roque - but not for Ireland’s Colm Moriarty and Stephen Browne.
As 2000 Irish Open winner Patrik Sjoland grabbed a European Tour lifeline by holing a seven-iron for an eagle at his 16th hole, Moriarty and Browne saw their hopes blown away on a 25 mph southwest wind on San Roque’s New Course.
The sixth and final round of the gruelling European Tour Qualifying School was peppered with stories of heroism and tragedy as Austria’s Martin Wiegle took the top card on 11 under par with Sjoland 22nd after a joint best of the day 68.
Exactly 30 players finished on three under par or better to secure full playing rights but Ireland’s surviving duo were left to reflect on what might have been at the end of the 108-hole marathon.
Playing alongside Sjoland, Athlone man Moriarty closed with a one under par 71 - just one of 11 sub-par rounds yesterday - to finish just three shots outside the qualifying mark on level par in 41st place.
Yet both men were within three shots of their cards with eight holes to play but ran up untimely double bogeys after overshooting greens coming home.
“It wasn't today's round that cost me my card because I shot 71 today,” said Moriarty, who flew the 190-yard fourth with a seven iron to kiss his hopes goodbye. “My game has come on in leaps and bounds this year. When you miss out by three shots over six rounds it is frustrating. But you have got to take it on the chin and look where you need to improve for next year.”
Ranked 51st on three over after a 75, Browne felt that the damage was done in the first two rounds, when he was forced to play without his favourite two-ball putter, which he mislaid in Italy two weeks ago.
“They must have had it in the deep freeze over there because it was pretty cold when I got it back on Saturday,” Browne quipped. “I was in a lot of trouble at five over after the first two rounds and I was always going to struggle when the mark is going to be three under.
“I didn't really hole any putts and never got going. But I have played really solid golf and have done for the last two months. So I am very hopeful and confident for the future.
“The game is there and I just need one decent week or one decent break and things will be a lot different.”
Sjoland grabbed his card on the three under par mark after holing out from 137 yards for an eagle at the par-five seventh with Germany’s Marcel Siem also on the mark, just 12 months after winning the World Cup with Bernhard Langer.
Tragedy of the day came from England's Stuart Davis, who was five under with three to play but bogeyed the 16th and 17th before running up a triple bogey seven at the last to miss by three.