Maybin on Rookie of Year trail

Gareth Maybin can become just the second Irishman to win the Sir Henry Cotton "Rookie of the Year" Award.

The Ulsterman, 28, jumped to 46th in the Race to Dubai rankings despite blowing his chance to win the Moravia Silesia Open in the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Tied for the lead with eventual winner Oskar Henningsson five to play, Maybin dropped four shots coming home but vowed to come back stronger in the KLM Dutch Open in two weeks.

Forced to settle for seventh, Maybin said: “It is good to see myself in position and nice to see my name at the top of the leaderboard for while. I will take a lot from this and try to get better.”

After jumping 12 places to 115th in the world, the Challenge Tour graduate insisted he would draw confidence from his fifth top-10 of the season.

And with earnings of €428,023, he’s on track to chase down Open hero Chris Wood in the race for Rookie of the Year honours.

Peter Lawrie became the first Irishman to grab that honour in 2003 but Maybin is just a maiden win away from becoming a serious contender to follow in his footsteps.

But Irish players have been disappointed in the past with Graeme McDowell edged out by Paul Casey in 2002.

Casey won more money that year - he played more tournaments - but McDowell won a tournament in just his fourth start on the main tour and still came up empty handed.

English ace Wood, 58th in the world now after finishing tied third at Turnberry, is the leading rookie at 32nd in the money list with shock Wales Open winner Jeppe Huldahl of Denmark ranked 40th and Swede Henningsson 42nd.

Rory McIlroy is still Ireland’s top player in the Race to Dubai where the top 60 will contest the $10m Dubai World Championship in November.

McIlroy is fifth behind pace setter Paul Casey with a cool €1.34 million with Graeme McDowell 41st, Peter Lawrie 54th and Damien McGrane just inside the qualifying places at 60th.

Michael Hoey (73rd) and triple major winner Padraig Harrington (84th) still have work to do to make sure of their places in the season-ending mega tournament.

But Kilkenny’s Gary Murphy is now in real danger of losing his card after his 12th missed cut of the season left him over €60,000 outside the vital top-115 in 154th.
Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley are exempt on tour thanks to their career earnings but at 107th and 127th in the money list, they need big results to earn their places in Dubai.