Mark Murphy and Chris Devlin went down fighting at stage two of the PGA Tour Q-School.
Waterville talent Murphy closed with an even par 72 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney (Texas), finishing tied for 40th, five strokes outside the top 20 and ties who progress to next month’s final stage in Florida.
Devlin’s hopes of qualifying were wrecked by an 11 over par 82 in the first round at Hombre Golf Club’s colourfully named Bad and Ugly layout (no prizes for guessing the name of the third nine) at Panama City Beach in his adopted Florida.
But the Ballymena native refused to give up after that massive disappointment and followed rounds of 71 and 68 with a closing 69 that left him just six shots outside the level par par qualifying mark.
A total of 20 players made it through, leaving Devlin to wonder what might have been had he turned that 81 into a 75.
In hindsight, Murphy would have needed a five under par 67 to make it the the finals from his Texas venue. But he was always under pressure after a bogey at the first hole.
The former Irish international battled back into the red with birdie twos at the fourth and seventh but he was never consistent enough, dropping shots at the eighth and 10th and then following birdies at the 12th and 14th with a bogey at the 17th.
As Murphy packed his things, American Tommy Biershenk claimed the top spot by three shots on 18 under par from European Tour regular Pablo Martin of Spain and American David Lutterus.
Carlos Franco also qualified for the final stage, shooting a 68 to tie for 10th.
Jay Haas Jr., the son of the Champions Tour’s Jay Haas, failed to advance after a final-round 74 dropped him to a tie for 32nd. Rod Pampling and Todd Hamilton also left empty handed after finishing 40th and 50th, respectively.
At Devlin’s Florida venue, South Korea’s Seong Ho Lee was the top qualifier on nine under. Aussie Peter Lonard and England’s Greg Owen were also inside the top 20 but there was no luck for 2006 US Ryder Cup player Brett Wetterich or former Masters runner up Len Mattiace.
Click here for full scores from all the stage two venues.