Gillen salvages card

By Brian Keogh

Beaverstown's Martina Gillen retained her Ladies European Tour card when she finish tied fourth at the Qualifying School Finals at La Fonti in Italy.

Gillen, 25, closed with a four under par 68 to finish just three shots behind winner Dana Lacey of Australia on 10 under par.

Based in Cavan, Gillen won her card last season but finished 126th in the money list after earning €7,380 from 13 starts.

Delighted to come through the Q School for the second year in a row, Gillen said: "I was so stressed coming here and I just wanted another chance at it. I felt that last year I did a few things wrong and I didn’t play well.

"If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out but at least I have another year to give it a go."

Gillen and Rebecca Coakley will be the only Irishwomen on the LET in 2008 as Claire Coughlan and Hazel Kavanagh failed to earn their playing rights at La Fonti, missing the 54-hole cut.

"It’s just myself and Rebecca (Coakley) now which is really disappointing,” said Gillen. "I’m really disappointed for Claire and Hazel. We travel together so I don’t know what Claire is going to do. I’m very disappointed for her.

"It was hard enough to get through today just because I was thinking ‘What am I going to do?’ because we’re good friends. Hopefully she’ll get into a few tournaments."

Coakley finished 37th on the money list with €51,698 from 21 start with her best finish a share of seventh place in May's BMW Ladies Italian Open.