Waterford Castle's Kevin Phelan earned conditional status on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica when he produced a sensational finish— including a closing eagle two — at the second Qualifying Tournament in Mexico.
The 28-year-old former Walker Cup and St Andrews Trophy player covered his last five holes in five-under par at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Club in Mazatlan to card a closing 67, holing a 20 footer for an eagle two at this final hole to earn conditional status with two strokes to spare on 10-under par.
It was just the boost Phelan needed after a few tough years.
”The wind was right to left and slightly helping, ” Phelan said of his closing eagle on the short, par-four ninth. ”I drove to 20 feet or so and holed the putt.
”I’m happy with the finish but like most tour schools, I’ll have to wait now and see how many startsit will result in.”
A two-time US Open qualifier as an amateur (he missed the cut at Pebble Beach in 2010 but tied for 66th at Merion in 2013), he came through the European Tour Qualifying School to win his card in 2013, hitting a three iron approach to six feet to set up a birdie at the final hole and win the 17th card.
He then plied his trade on the European circuit for two seasons, recording three top-3 finishes including a career-best share of second behind Andy Sullivan in the 2015 Joburg Open.
He lost his card, however, then played on the Challenge Tour for another two years before being forced to descend to the EuroPro Tour last year, making six of 11 cuts.
He failed to get past the Second Stage of the 2018 European Tour Q-School, missing out by five strokes at Desert Springs in Almería.
But he now has options on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica after finishing tied 22nd in Mazatlan.
Rounds of 68, 72 and 71 left him tied 33rd with a round to play, but while he was still for the day with five holes to go, he birdied his 14th, 15th and 16th holes before signing off with an eagle two on the ninth to secure starts at venues in South America, Central America and the Caribbean over the next few months.
America Jacob Bergeron closed with a bogey-free, 10-under 62 on Friday to top the 99-strong field the no-cut, 72 hole event by two strokes from compatriot Matt Ryan and be fully exempt for the Tour’s entire 2019 season.
The top 11 finishers are fully exempt for the first half of the 2019 season with the remainder of the top 35 and ties, including Phelan, conditionally exempt.
Two more PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournaments will be held simultaneously in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires from January 28-February 1.