Gareth Maybin’s immediate European Tour future will be decided at this week’s Hong Kong Open after he slipped two places to 120th in the money list following the South African Open.
The Ballyclare player could only manage a two over par 74 in the final round, finishing with a costly double bogey six. And while he earned € 4,500 for his share of 51st place, he was overtaken in the Race to Dubai standings by Keith Horne and former Irish Amateur Open winner Richard McEvoy.
McEvoy shot a 68 to go from 121st to the safety of 107th in the rankings after finishing a brilliant third behind Hennie Otto at Serengeti Golf Club.
The big-hitting South African closed with a 72 to claim his second European Tour title by a stroke from Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (68) on 14 under.
Horne finished joint 13th on eight under to go from 120th to 119th, which is still one place outside the top 118 who will retain full playing rights next year.
The top 115 keep their cards but that number has effectively been extended to 118 as Frederik Jacobson, Ryan Moore and Tom Lewis will not count on the money list as they have not played the required number of events.
Maybin is now €8,652 behind the man in 118th place, the already exempt former BMW PGA champion Simon Khan.
Damien McGrane, who did not travel to South Africa, fell from 112th to 115th in the money list but should be safe if he plays four rounds in Hong Kong as he holds a €8,807 lead over the man in 118th.
However, Maybin knows that he must make the cut in Hong Kong to have any chance of climbing into the top 118.
Last place is worth just €3,742 and he will need at least a 50th place finish worth €9,226 to survive. (Click here for Hong Kong prize fund.)
At the other end of the money list, Padraig Harrington and Peter Lawrie also face a testing week at Fanling.
The pair want to make the top 60 who will contest the season-ending Dubai World Championship but Lawrie is the man in the hotseat after Otto’s win relegated him from 59th to 60th in the Race to Dubai standings.
Harrington is 67th and €53,410 behind his fellow Dubliner, which means he must finish no worse than sixth to be sure of his place in the season-ending event.
As for Rory McIlroy’s bid to overtake Luke Donald and win the money title, the Holywood player will still trail the Englishman by €789,789 if he wins in Hong Kong.
Currently third in the money list and €1.13m behind Donald, he would leapfrog Hong Kong absentee Martin Kaymer but would then have to win in Dubai and hope that Donald finishes outside the top-10.
Back-to-back European Tour wins by McIlroy is highly unlikely. World No 1 Donald, on the other hand, has finished in the Top-10 in 18 of his 24 starts so far this year.