Alan Dunbar’s thoughts will turn to the Masters now after his hopes of winning his card suffered a killer blow at Stage Two of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain.
On a day when Royal Dubin’s Niall Kearney (66), Limerick’s Tim Rice (67) and Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe (68) surged into contention to make it to the Final Stage later this month, the reigning British Amateur champion slipped to last place on 11 over par after a 78 at Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Tarragona.
Former Walker Cup star Kearney was also in action at the Catalan course, where he fired five birdies in an immaculate 66 to move 19 places to joint seventh on six under, four shots adrift of leader Liam Bond.
Ballinasloe’s Mark Staunton did well to finish the day tied for 25th on two under as he crashed to five over after six holes but then birdied four of his last 10 holes for a one over 72.
Clandeboye’s Jonny Caldwell, a Walker Cup player with Rory McIlroy in 2007, recovered from a double bogey at the first with five birdies and just one bogey for a three under 68 that left him tied for 25th with Staunton.
But it was a miserable day for Dunbar who was knocked for six by a bug in Turkey last month and could not take any part in the World Amateur Team Championship.
At El Valle in Murcia, O’Keeffe’s three under 68 left him four shots off the lead as he moved up eight places to joint sixth.
Rice shot a four under 67 to move into joint 14th on one under at the same venue but Newlands’ Cian Curley got off to a bad start and a 75 relegated him to 59th on six over.
Former tour regulars David Higgins (73) and Simon Thornton (71) are tied for 10th at El Saler in Valencia where Spain-based Derry man Ruaidhri McGee improved to 26th after a rollercoaster 72 featuring an eagle three, four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey.
However, it was a slow day for Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw, who shot a second successive 74 to fall 10 places to 31st while Portmarnock’s Noel Fox is 10 over after a second successive 77.
At Las Colinas in Alicante, Brendan McCarroll is tied 13th on one under after 70 but Ballymena’s Chris Devlin dropped two late shots for a second 71 on the trot that left him tied for 20th on level par.
Waterville’s Mark Murphy bogeyed his last two holes for a 72 to slip from 23rd to 30th while Warrenpoint native Barrie Trainor had six birdies and eight bogeys in a 73 to slip well off the qualifying pace on six over.
European Tour Qualifying School - Second Stage - November 7-10
T1 Mortiz LAMPERT (AM) Ger 72 69, Adrian OTAEGUI Esp 71 70, Ou Yang ZHENG Chi 72 69 (-3)
T10 (T4) David HIGGINS Waterville Golf Links 71 73 (E)
T10 (T13) Simon Thornton Team Ireland 73 71 (E)
T26 (T29) Ruaidhri MCGEE Golf 525 Murcia 75 72 (+3)
T31 (T21) Gareth SHAW Team Ireland 74 74 (+4)
T56 (T45) Noel FOX Portmarnock 77 77 (+10)
T1 Warren BENNETT Eng 72 65, Taco REMKES Ned 67 70, Luke HICKMOTT Aus 69 68, Andrea ROTA Ita 69 68, Tim SLUITER Ned 67 70 (-5)
T13 (T17) Brendan McCARROLL Team Ireland 71 70 (-1)
T20 (T17) Chris DEVLIN Team Ireland 71 71 (E)
T30 (T23) Mark MURPHY 72 72 (+2)
T56 (T54) Barrie TRAINOR Mayobridge GC 75 73 (+6)
1 Ake Nilsson Swe 71 64 (-7)
1 Liam BOND Wal 64 68 (-10)
T7 (T26) Niall KEARNEY Royal Dublin 70 66 (-6)
T25 (T9) Mark STAUNTON Ballinasloe GC 68 72 (-2)
T25 (T45) Jonathan CALDWELL Clandeboye GC 72 68 (-2)
76 (T73) Alan DUNBAR (AM) Rathmore GC 75 78 (+11)