Seniors: Bolger keeps Staysure Tour card bid alive
Jimmy Bolger

Jimmy Bolger

Jimmy Bolger battled back from a horror start to qualify for next week's Final Stage of the Staysure Tour's Qualifying School in Portugal.

The popular Kilkenny professional will be the only Irish player in the 76-strong field hoping to win one of just five cards over 72 holes at Pestana Golf Resort from next Monday

He had to finish in the top 19 and ties in one of two Stage One Qualifiers on the Algarve this week just to make it to the Final Stage of the race to play on the re-branded European Senior Tour in 2018.

But after dropping seven shots in his first 10 holes at Gramacho Golf Club, he birdied the par-five second (his 11th) and the par-three seventh to add a 77 to his first round 73 and finish tied 10th on six-over 150. 

That was good enough to make it with two shots to spare as Argentina’s Mauricio Molina shot 70-72 to top the 22 qualifiers on two-under 142

There was no luck for Belfast's Damian Mooney, tied 34th on 155 after a 78, or Ballybunion amateur Peter Sheehan, who shot 81 to share 47th on 158.

At Silves Golf Course, Christy O’Connor was 62nd after rounds of 80 and 81 where amateur John Kemp shot two 68s to win the qualifier on four-under 136.

Jim Ussher and amateur Mark Somers were disqualified after their first rounds at a venue where 20 players progressed on 147 or better.

Staysure Tour Qualifying School, First Stage