Ireland’s Colm Moriarty and Stephen Browne came up short as 30 players grabbed their cards in a heart-stopping finale to the European Tour Qualifying School Finals at San Roque.
Moriarty closed with a one under par 71 on a wind-lashed final day but a crucial double bogey on his 13th hole left him three shots outside the qualifying mark on level par.
It was a similar story for Browne, who was just three shots outside the magical top 30 with seven holes to play when he ran up a costly double bogey six at his 12th in a 75 and eventually finished six shots outside the card positions on three over par.
Austria's Martin Wiegele (76) took the top card on 11 under par, two strokes clear of Spain’s Pedro Linhart and England’s Lee Slattery while 2000 Irish Open champion Patrik Sjoland holed a seven-iron for an eagle three at his 16th hole to make it on the mark after a joint best of the day 68.
Ranked 41st, Moriarty said: "I have to take the positives from the year, look at my statistics and see where I need to improve. It has been a pretty good year but it is a huge disappointment not to get my card."
Moriarty’s hopes evaporated on the 190-yard fourth, his 13th, where his seven-iron hopped into a hazard beyond the green, costly him a vital double bogey five at a time when he was just two strokes outside the cards on one under par.
Yet he refused to blame one bad hole for his demise at the end of a 108-hole marathon.
"It is a bit annoying when you miss by a couple of shots in the end but I played the last five holes well so I am certainly not looking back on that one shot as costing me my card," Moriarty said. "It wasn't today's round that cost me my card because I shot 71 today. But you have got to take it on the chin and look where you need to improve for next year."
Browne was always in trouble after crashing to five over par after two rounds of the six round exercise before breaking par on each of the next three days to give himself an outside chance of his card on the final day.
But he revealed that he struggled on the greens after his favourite two-ball putter was lost at the Grand Final in Italy two weeks ago and did not arrive until Saturday.
He said: "I can't fault my golf. I just never got going. I didn't play great early in the week but the last four rounds I played quite nicely.
"The putter was really cold. But I only got my favourite putter back after the second round. The putter I have been using all year went missing at the Grand Final in Italy.
"They must have had it in the deep freeze over there because it was pretty cold after I got it back on Saturday."
The Dubliner, 33, was pleased to battle his way back into the mix at level par with seven holes to play before he plugged in a bunker at the third, his 12th, and took a fatal double bogey six.
He added: "The game is there and I just need one decent week or one decent break and things will be a lot different.”
Ballybunion champion Sjoland grabbed his card on the three under par mark after holing out from 137 yards for an eagle at the par-five seventh while Germany’s Marcel Siem also made it on the mark, just 12 months after winning the World Cup with Bernhard Langer.
The biggest tragedy of the day came from England's Stuart Davis, who was five under par with three to play but bogeyed the 16th and 17th before running up a triple bogey seven at the last to miss by three.
The Derby man pulled his approach into heavy rough and then thinned his recovery into the lake before taking three to get up and down.