Stephanie Meadow bravely birdied her last two holes to stunningly salvage her LPGA Tour card on a memorable Sunday for Irish women’s golf.
Just hours after Leona Maguire graduated from the Symetra Tour, the Jordanstown native (27) tied for sixth in the LPGA Tour’s Volunteers Classic of America to avoid another trip to the Qualifying School.
An opening 63 gave her the lead, but after faltering with rounds of 71 and 73, she needed a special final round to make the top 100 in the money list and pulled it off.
After starting with back to birdies, she followed a bogey at the fifth with birdies at the ninth and 13th to caress her goal.
But while a bogey at the 15th was a blow and she the left an eagle chance agonisingly short at the par-five 17th, she unleashed a joyous fist-pump after she made a do-or-die 18 footer for birdie at the 18th.
It added up to a four-under 67 that left her joint sixth on 10-under par — her best LPGA Tour finish for three years — and catapulted her from 112th to 99th in the money list.
She had to wait two hours for the LPGA Tour to do the sums and confirm that she had finished the regular season with $127,796 and kept her card after several years of struggles.
After finishing third in the 2014 US Women’s Open on her professional debut, she finished 131st on the LPGA money list in 2015.
it was the year she lost her father and mentor Robert to pancreatic cancer and after finishing 115th and 153rd in the standings and battling back issues for the next two years, she cane through the Symetra Tour to regain her card last year.
This year she has suffered more injury woes - a twisted ankle days before the first event in Australia and a shoulder injury that caused her to pull out of the penultimate regular season event in Indiana
It was all or nothing in Dallas but having missed 10 cuts in 20 starts, she dug deep to produce a performance as memorable as any win.
She will be joined in the big leagues by former amateur team mate Maguire (24), who tied for 33rd in the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship in Daytona Beach to win the seventh of 10 cards awarded to the leading money winners on the second tier tour.
“It's a dream come true," said the Co Cavan native, who claimed two wins and seven top 10 finishes from 16 starts.
“It's something I've been working towards for so long. It's been a season packed with so many great memories, and I cannot wait for the new season to start."
On the European Tour, Jon Rahm leapfrogged Shane Lowry at the top of the Race to Dubai when he retained the Open de España in Madrid.
The Basque (24) closed with a six-under 66 at the Club de Campo to win his fifth European Tour title by five shots from Rafa Cabrera Bello on 22-under par.
He also entered the record books by claiming his fifth European Tour win in just his 39th start - ten events fewer than the great Seve Ballesteros.
“It's great that I've done it here, to beat Seve's record with his last professional win being at this course as well," said Rahm, who will not play again until the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
”It's very special for me."
On the Challenge Tour, Portmarnock Links' Robin Dawson tied for 50th on three-over in the Lalla Aïcha Challenge Tour.
He followed his opening 64 with rounds of 79, 75 and 73 and moved up just two spots to 86th in Road to Mallorca standings ahead of this week's Stone Irish Challenge at Headfort.
Welshman Oliver Farr (31) closed with a nine-under 63 to come from four shots behind to win his third Challenge Tour title by three strokes on 15-under.
On the Staysure Tour, Thomas Levet won the Farmfoods European Senior Masters by a shot from Austria's Markus Brier on 10-under at Forest of Arden thanks to a final round 69.
Des Smyth (66) shot 75 to tie for 44th on 228 with Philip Walton joint 50th on 236 after an 80.
Kevin Na won the Shriners Hospitals for Chikdren’s Open when he beat Patrick Cantlay with a birdie at the second extra hole after they had tied on 23 under.
Na made a four footer to win, setting a new best for the PGA Tour on the greens.
He made a record 558 feet, 11 inches of putts over the regulation 72 holes and was an incredible +14.263 in Strokes Gained: Putting
He shot a final round 70 to Cantlay’s three 68 but after both birdies the first extra hole, Na’s par four on their second visit to the 18th proved enough.