Jimmy Bolger insists he must remain patient after a late double bogey left him five shots outside the top-five who will win cards at the Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in Portugal.
The popular Kilkenny professional (50) was just two-over-par for his opening round with two holes to play as high winds tested the 75-strong field on the Vale da Pinta course at Pestana Golf Resort.
But despite driving out of bounds at the 418-yard eighth (his 17th) en route to a four-over 75, Bolger believes a level par total for four rounds could still be good enough to win one of just five cards on the rebranded European Senior Tour.
“Four over wasn’t a fair reflection of how I played,” said Bolger, who made three birdies and five bogeys before his late mistake.
“It was very windy and hard to control distance, especially putting. A good target would be level par on a very tricky golf course and level tends to get it done every year.
"It's the sort of course that requires a calm head, so I'm just trying to stay patient."
Former European Challenge Tour winner Mats Hallberg (53) opened with a four-under-par 67 for a one-stroke lead over England’s Mark Booth on a day when just six players broke par.
The top five will earn playing rights on the Staysure Tour for the 2018 season with all players within eight shots of fifth place after tomorrow’s third round contesting the final day.
Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage, Vale da Pinta, Pestana Golf Resort (Par 71)
Detailed scores 67 M Hallberg (Swe); 68 M Booth (Eng); 69 D Shacklady (Eng); 70 J Buendia (Esp), M Molina (Arg), P Streeter (Eng); 71 S Mondshine (USA); 72 V Casado (Esp), M Wharton (Eng), G Wolstenholme (Eng), N Cheetham (Eng), M Bianco (Ita); 73 G Ryall (Eng), J Quiros (Esp), P Wilson (Eng), N Sweet (Eng); 74 G Joyner (Aus), P Parker (USA), S Brown (Eng), S McNally (Eng), S Skinner (USA), J Cheetham (Eng), C Suneson (Esp); 75 A Sherborne (Eng), J Carro (Esp), J Romero (Esp), S Bennett (Eng), A Franco (Par), J Carriles (Esp), Jimmy Bolger (Irl), J Hall (Eng), T Spence (Eng), M Green (RSA), F Almskoug (Swe), D Wettlaufer (Can), G Rusnak (USA), J Kemp (am) (Eng).
Staysure tour announces 2018 schedule
Co-inciding with the first round in Portugal, the Staysure Tour announced its schedule for the 2018 season, featuring three new events in Denmark, England and Spain but none — so far — in Ireland though we believe a Ryder Cup-style matchplay event is in the works.
David MacLaren, Head of the Staysure Tour, said: “We are all very excited about the forthcoming season and the first year of our landmark partnership with title sponsors Staysure. We have made further progress in expanding our tournament schedule and are delighted to see the return of the PGA Seniors Championship to our calendar.
“Our new events in Denmark, England and Spain are also welcome additions to our schedule, and we are working diligently to add further tournaments to our calendar for the 2018 season.
“We look forward to seeing Clark Dennis begin his defence of the John Jacobs Trophy in Sharjah and wish all of our players the best of luck for the forthcoming season.”
The Shipco Masters Promoted by Simon’s Golf Club, Staysure PGA Seniors Championship and Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters are the latest additions to the calendar, which will see the Tour travel to four continents in 2018.
United Kingdom-based insurance company Staysure have also been named as title sponsors of the PGA Seniors Championship, which returns to the schedule for the first time since 2015.
The Staysure-sponsored tournament will take place the week after The Senior Open Presented by Rolex, which will see many of the game’s legends step foot onto the iconic Old Course at St Andrews, from July 26-29.
Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates will host the first tournament of the inaugural Staysure Tour season, the Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq from March 8-10.
The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship returns to Harbor Shores, Michigan, for the third time from May 24-27.
The U.S. Senior Open, also won by Chapman and Montgomerie, will take place at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado from June 28-July 1.
The first edition of The Shipco Masters Promoted by Simon’s Golf at Simon’s Golf Club in Denmark will be played from June 1-3, and Britain’s most successful female golfer in the modern era, Dame Laura Davies, is due to become the first woman in history to participate in a Staysure Tour event.
The 2017 John Jacobs Trophy winner, Clark Dennis, will defend the first of two titles he won last season at Golf Club Udine, which will once again host the Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort from June 15-17. The Swiss Seniors Open and WINSTONgolf Senior Open return to the schedule in successive weeks from July 6-8 and July 13-15.
The Willow Senior Golf Classic, which raises funds for the Willow Foundation, will take place once again at Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, and Woburn Golf Club will host the Travis Perkins Masters for the 11th time – the events will take place from August 24-26 and August 31-September 2 respectively.
The second edition of the European Tour Properties Senior Classic will take place at Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort in Bulgaria from September 7-9. The Scottish Senior Open will be the fourth event in four consecutive weeks and will take place from September 14-16.
The Farmfoods European Senior Masters at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & CC will be played from October 5-7, and the following week the third edition of the Paris Legends Championship is set to be staged at La Boulie - Racing Club de France. The Dutch Masters is currently scheduled to take place the following week, from October 19-21.
Meliã Villaitana Golf Club in Alicante will host the first edition of the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters from November 29-December 1, and the 2018 season will conclude in the spectacular Indian Ocean setting of Mauritius at the eighth edition of the MCB Tour Championship from December 7-9.
2018 Staysure Tour Schedule
- Mar 8 – 10 (Sat) Sharjah Senior Golf Masters presented by Shurooq Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, Sharjah
- May 24 – 27 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship Harbor Shores Golf Club, Michigan, USA
- June 1 – 3 The Shipco Masters Promoted by Simon’s Golf Club Simon’s Golf Club, Denmark
- June 15 – 17 Senior Italian Open Golf Club Udine, Italy
- June 28 – 1 July U.S. Senior Open Championship The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, USA
- July 6 – 8 Swiss Seniors Open Golf Club Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
- July 13 – 15 WINSTONgolf Senior Open WINSTONlinks Course, WINSTONgolf, Germany
- July 26 – 29 The Senior Open Presented by Rolex Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland
- Aug 2 – 5 Staysure PGA Seniors Championship TBC, England
- Aug 10 – 12 Tournament presented by the Nelson Mandela Bay Authority (TBC) TBC, South Africa*
- Aug 17 – 19 Russian Open Golf Championship (TBC) Moscow Country Club, Russia
- Aug 24 – 26 Willow Senior Golf Classic Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, England
- Aug 31 – 2 Sept Travis Perkins Masters Woburn Golf Club, England
- Sept 7 – 9 European Tour Properties Senior Classic Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort, Bulgaria
- Sept 14 – 16 Scottish Senior Open TBC, Scotland
- Oct 5 – 7 Farmfoods European Senior Masters Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, England
- Oct 11 – 13 (Sat) Paris Legends Championship (TBC) La Boulie - Racing Club de France, France
- Oct 19 – 21 Dutch Masters (TBC) TBC, Netherlands
- Nov 29 – 1 Dec (Sat) Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters Meliã Villaitana GC, Spain
- Dec 7 – 9 MCB Tour Championship, Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius
*(Co-promoted by the Staysure Tour and Sunshine Senior Tour)