Peter O’Keeffe’s European Tour dream is still alive after he was handed a last minute call up for this weekend’s Qualifying School Finals in Catalonia.
The big-hitting Douglas player, who celebrated his 31st birthday last Friday, was devastated to lose out in a four-man play-off for the last qualifying spot at his Stage Two qualifier in Murcia 11 days ago
But he got in as ninth alternate yesterday after Sweden’s Niklas Lemke withdrew to concentrate on the PGA Tour Q-School finals in California.
“I’m delighted,” beamed O’Keeffe, who is completing his PGA training at Muskerry Golf Club. “I had an idea that I might get close to getting in and with the main season finishing so near the Q-School a lot of guys entered who were in danger of losing their cards but didn’t in the end.
“They withdrew and freed up a lot of spots and then Niklas pulled out to concentrate on the US Q-School, so I’m thrilled.
“I got the finals in 2007 and missed the cut comfortably but I feel I’m far better player this time.”
His addition to the 156-man field means Ireland will have six hopefuls battling for 25 cards in the gruelling six-round test at the PGA Catalunya Resort near Girona, where making the 72-hole cut for the top 70 and ties guarantees a Challenge Tour card.
He joins Waterville’s David Higgins, Newcastle’s Simon Thornton, Dubliner Niall Kearney, Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw and Ballymena’s Chris Devlin.
Waterville’s Mark Murphy, who failed to get through the second stage after suffering a wrist injury, will caddie for his pal at PGA Catalunya.
“I caddied for ‘Murph’ in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush so he’s repaying the favour,” O’Keeffe added.