By Brian Keogh
David Higgins blew a golden opportunity to secure his card as England's Ross Fisher survived a rules scare to win the KLM Open.
Needing a top-three finish to make sure of his playing rights for 2008, the Waterville man birdied two of the first five holes to share second place.
But four bogeys in the next 13 holes forced him to settle for a disappointing share of 17th place after a two over 72.
Fisher birdied the last for a 67 and a dramatic, one-shot win over Dutch youngster Joost Luiten on 12 under par.
But he had to wait an agonising 30 minutes to celebrate after being forced to return to the 12th hole to prove he had not broken a rule by lifting a bramble.
Officials then checked the incident on video before he was cleared to collect the €266,660 first prize.
It was en excruciating finish to a nail-biting final round for Fisher, 26, who was three strokes clear with three to play before Luiten birdied the last to set the clubhouse target of 11 under thanks to a 66.
The Wentworth man responded nervously by three-putting the 16th and 17th to go to the last needing a par to force a play-off.
But he kept his nerve by booming a massive 340 yard drive and then draining an eight footer for a winning birdie before his late rules nightmare.
Fisher said: "Being honest, it feels pretty sick. After going through the highs of holing the winning putt to hearing the rules guys say, we need to check this out.
"They deemed that I didn't improve my swing or stance so I feel very fortunate to be standing here as the winner."
Higgins earned €19,653 to jump eight places in the Order of Merit to 146th - more than €40,000 outside the top 115.
Gary Murphy tied for 27th on three under to earn €13,568 and fall back to 90th on the money list.
On the Challenge Tour, Derry’s Michael McGeady took the Irish bragging rights after a final round albatross.
McGeady, 29, holed a four-wood from 222 yards at the 516-yard 12th to share 51st place behind winner Felipe Aguilar of Chile.