Damien McGrane gestures at marshals during the Wales Open. Picture: David Lloyd / www.golffile.ieProfessional golfers live in hope of that one big week that washes all the disappointment away. Damien McGrane finally had his at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.

A closing 71 - level par - would not normally earn much gold. But it was priceless for the the Kells man, who banished any feelings of insecurity about keeping his card by finishing sixth behind a fast-finishing Grégory Bourdy and pocketing his biggest cheque for 525 days.

McGrane has not played poorly since finished second to Michael Hoey in the Tropée Hassan II more than 17 months ago. But without a top 10 finish since that week, he found himself a tenuous 111th in the Race to Dubai standings heading to Wales - one spot outside the Top-110 who keep their cards for 2014.

A cheque for €67,988 catapulted him to 89th in the money list and well inside the Top-110 who will retain their playing privileges for next year. All in all, it was a decent day for the Irish at Celtic Manor with Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley curing the hangover of Saturday’s title wrecking 77 with a 67 worth a share of eighth and his first top 10 since he was third in Munich last summer.

“I’m very satisfied,” McGrane said after a round that started with a two over front nine but changed course when he birdied the 11th, 13th and 14th for the second day running.

“You know, I played lovely all week and I hit a lot of good shots and converted a couple of long putts again today for birdies on tough holes. So birdieing maybe 13, 14 today, I think I birdied them yesterday, as well, it was a huge result.

“[They are] the difficult holes, and I was probably catching two or three shots in the field.”

Gregory Bourdy with the trophy. Picture © Getty ImagesHad he not bogeyed the 16th every day, or even birdied the par-five 18th, McGrane could have added another €21,000 his Race to Dubai tally. Still, he wasn’t pushing it.

“It’s a tough finish here in Wales, and you know, I managed to crawl my way home, so I’m happy enough.”

He knows how important those three early birdies on the back nine could be to his season.

“Absolutely. It was nice to do. Often in golf it falls the other way but today the ball bounced in my direction and I managed to move up from the field which was pleasant.

“I’m content to have played four solid rounds this week. Consistency often is my problem this year, so four steady games, I’m pleased.”

As for McGinley, he was pleased to bounce back with a 67 that could have been even better had he not driven into sand at the last and made bogey.

“A lot of good golf, no doubt about that,” McGinley said. “I’m very disappointed with yesterday, a lot of mistakes. Didn’t play terribly badly but managed myself and managed the course badly yesterday and didn’t stick to my game plan and I paid the price.”

Summing up his performance, he said: “Like a school report, very good at times and sometimes fell asleep, just like my school report at school. That’s what I did yesterday, there’s no doubt about it.

“I’m disappointed with myself yesterday. Okay, it wasn’t a day where things were going for me and it was a difficult day with the weather, but to shoot six-over par, taking yourself out of the tournament, and that’s disappointing.

“Even if I had kept it around par or one or two over, it would have had a chance today, but wasn’t to be. It was good to come back today so I’m pleased with that.”

As for his six at the last which turned a possible 65 into a 67, he said: If I had birdied down the last it would have been [a] thunderous [round].

“I’m very disappointed with the last; the one place not to hit it, those bunkers. And then when you plug in the face, it’s just a penalty shot and I paid the price.”

Still, it was mission accomplished for a man who is determined not to be a figurehead captain. He wants to be competitive.

“Well, as I say I think it’s an important part of my duty that I stay competitive on Tour, try to play as well as I can, and that gives me more opportunity to play with the potential players in groups and stuff like that.

“I played with Ross Fisher today. He’s an ex - player in The Ryder Cup around here, and that’s the kind of experience that I want to pick up in terms of playing over the next sort of 14 months, 13 months.

“The last two weeks have been really busy off the course and I’ve played reasonably well although  my finishing positions again should have been better given the quality golf I played.

“But you know what, there’s a lot of improvement from where I have been playing and unfortunately we are nearly at the end of season in terms of tournaments I’m going to be playing in but hopefully I can keep playing well and get a few good finishes before the year is out.”

When it comes to his team, McGinley will not have missed Bourdy’s dramatic trio of huge birdie putts on the final three holes to seal his fourth European Tour title and top spot in the European Ryder Cup Points list after week one of qualifying.

In a finish worthy of the former Ryder Cup venue and the week which marks the beginning of the points race for the 2014 contest at Gleneagles, Bourdy sank a 40-footer on the 16th hole to begin a remarkable run of gains.

He followed that up by sinking another from 15 feet at the 17th, and just when his closest contender Peter Uihlein seemed to have spoiled the party with a monster putt of his own to tie things up at the penultimate hole, Bourdy put the icing on the cake by rolling in another birdie putt from 30 feet at the last to sign for a round of 67 and an eight under par aggregate total.

Needing to match Bourdy’s closing birdie to force a play-off, Uihlein struck his wedge to 20 feet but his putt rolled agonisingly past the hole, and after missing the return the American finished two strokes adrift of the champion on six under par.

The victory is Bourdy’s first in almost five years, and comes just at the right time as the 31 year old tops The Ryder Cup points list in the opening week of the race for the nine automatic places in McGinley’s European Team.

The Frenchman said: “It was an amazing round. I started great with an eagle on the second, which gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the round.

“Unfortunately I made two bogeys on 13 and 14, so I knew I needed some birdies and to finish with three in a row was amazing.

“I’m going to remember this finish for a long time. A lot of great moments have taken place here during The Ryder Cup, and I was thinking about that on the 18th hole when I was walking up the fairway. So I’m very proud to win this trophy at Celtic Manor.”

David Higgins will now be hoping he can follow in McGrane’s footsteps in the coming weeks after a closing 71 saw him claim 26th on two over and €19,874.

It’s his biggest cheque of the season but at 163rd in the Race to Dubai standings, he’s €115,789 adrift of the man in 110th place and safety when it comes to retaining the card it cost blood and tears to win back at the Q-School last year.

Gareth Maybin was joint 52nd on seven over and earned €7,531, leaving him a comfortable 80th in the money list with €277,092 and another six regular season events still to go to make the top 60 who will qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

ISPS Handa Wales Open, Celtic Manor (Par 71)

276 G Bourdy (Fra) 67 72 70 67,

278 P Uihlein  (USA) 69 70 67 72,

279 S Kjeldsen (Den) 69 74 70 66,

281 J Parry (Eng) 71 69 73 68, J Luiten (Ned) 73 68 69 71,

282 G Storm  (Eng) 72 67 72 71, D McGrane (Irl) 70 71 70 71,

283 B Rumford (Aus) 72 69 72 70, P McGinley (Irl) 70 69 77 67, M Korhonen (Fin) 71 70 70 72, G Fdez-Castaño  (Esp) 70 75 69 69, S Benson (Eng) 76 70 69 68, A Hansen (Den) 71 71 70 71, S Wakefield (Eng) 70 74 70 69,

284 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 71 68 71 74, E De La Riva  (Esp) 71 70 71 72, R Rock (Eng) 68 73 73 70,

285 T Van Der Walt (RSA) 67 71 74 73, S Dyson  (Eng) 76 69 72 68, B Koepka  (USA) 72 71 73 69, J Edfors (Swe) 72 69 74 70, E Grillo (Arg) 68 76 70 71, M Baldwin (Eng) 74 72 70 69, A Levy (Fra) 71 69 77 68, P Waring  (Eng) 72 70 71 72,

286 J Walters (RSA) 71 71 69 75, D Higgins (Irl) 74 70 71 71, P Hedblom (Swe) 72 72 66 76, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 74 72 69, T Levet (Fra) 75 67 67 77,

287 M Foster (Eng) 67 75 71 74, C Paisley  (Eng) 74 69 70 74, M Nixon (Eng) 72 71 68 76, C Doak (Sco) 72 70 76 69, O Fisher  (Eng) 71 72 72 72, D Drysdale (Sco) 70 73 72 72, S Chowrasia (Ind) 72 70 75 70, C Lee (Sco) 77 67 70 73,

288 C Wood  (Eng) 66 75 73 74, A Tadini (Ita) 70 72 75 71, R Green (Aus) 66 76 70 76, F Aguilar (Chi) 72 72 71 73,

289 M Tullo (Chi) 74 70 71 74, S Jamieson  (Sco) 74 72 74 69, L Bond (Wal) 69 68 78 74, J Lara (Esp) 73 70 75 71, J Campillo (Esp) 71 73 72 73, A Hartø  (Den) 72 72 72 73, A Kaleka  (Fra) 71 72 70 76, R Bland (Eng) 75 71 71 72,

290 M Ilonen  (Fin) 69 74 75 72,

291 A Snobeck  (Fra) 73 71 71 76, M Kieffer (Ger) 69 75 74 73, R Wattel  (Fra) 72 74 73 72, S Hansen (Den) 72 73 70 76, R Enoch  (Wal) 73 70 73 75, G Maybin (Nir) 71 75 73 72,

292 J Quesne  (Fra) 73 69 77 73, J Lagergren (Swe) 74 72 72 74, T Björn (Den) 72 73 74 73, A Marshall (Eng) 71 72 81 68,

293 R Fisher (Eng) 71 71 74 77, E Kofstad (Nor) 64 74 76 79,

294 R Coles (Eng) 69 73 79 73, S Arnold  (Aus) 72 74 69 79, R Santos  (Por) 70 76 73 75,

295 M Carlsson  (Swe) 72 74 68 81,

296 R Jacquelin (Fra) 70 71 80 75, E Pepperell (Eng) 77 69 71 79, C Cévaër (Fra) 70 72 80 74,

297 P Erofejeff (Fin) 71 74 76 76,

298 M Jonzon (Swe) 71 74 74 79,

300 A Dodt (Aus) 71 75 74 80