Colm Moriarty. Picture by Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ieColm Moriarty saw his bid to secure the third place finish he required to qualify for the Challenge Tour’s Grand Final come up short after an agonising double bogey seven during final round of the penultimate event of the season, the Roma Golf Open.

The Glasson professional, who burst into contention with a brilliant third round 65 at the Olgiata Golf Club, holed his 96 yard approach on the first hole of the final round for an eagle two and led the tournament until the par five 15th where a double bogey seven brought a cruel end to his hopes of winning the title and keeping his Challenge Tour season alive.

To rub salt in the wound, Moriarty’s playing partner, Englishman Sam Little, holed out from 104 yards for eagle on the same hole to replace him at the top of the leaderboard before another chip-in on the 16th for birdie set up a sudden-death play-off with Swede Pelle Edberg from which Little emerged the victor after four holes.

“That 15th hole has a lot to answer for – I took two sixes and a seven on that hole this week and it was the only hole that I dropped shots on all week,” lamented Moriarty.

“I played really well today and had a great chance to win coming down the back nine but I just could get the putts to drop today. I had good chances on 10, 12 and 14 but I just didn’t get anything out of the round at all apart from the first where I holed out for eagle.

“It’s disappointing not to get it done and not to win more than anything today considering the position that I was in coming down the back nine. But you can’t just look at this tournament – I have to look at the other 15 events I played this year where I didn’t get the job done.”

Moriarty will now get ready for the Tour School’s Second Stage in December where he will hope to win a place in the Final.

Simon Thornton, the only other Irishman to survive the halfway cut in Rome, had a disappointing final round of four over par to fall back into the pack in a share of 26th spot.

The County Down professional will be the only Irish representative at the Grand Final in three weeks, where he will look to at least consolidate his current Ranking position of 15th as he seeks to win one of the 20 available European Tour cards on offer at San Domenico Golf in Southern Italy.