Higgins in contention to claim Euro Tour card after solid 67
DAVID HIGGINS' bid to secure a European Tour card got off to a good start, with the Kerryman firing a three-under-par 67 at the PGA Catalunya Course in Girona, Spain.
That left him in a tie for 28th place in the final leg of the Tour's Qualifying School.
Higgins got off to the best possible start by hitting a birdie at the first, but a bogey five at the fourth brought his score back to level-par and that's how it stayed heading to the back nine.
He managed birdies at the 10th, 15th, 16th and 18th and, while they were offset by a bogey at the 14th, Higgins finds himself in a good position with five rounds still to play in the gruelling event.
Ruaidhri McGee, who won his first qualifying stage at Wychwood Park back in September, is also in the hunt for a Tour card after a commendable two-under-par 70 over the more difficult Stadium Course.
The Belfast golfer played some quality shots throughout his round to finish the day in a share of 44th spot along with Ballymena's Dermot McElroy, who shot a two-under 68 over the Tour Course.
Kevin Phelan has a lot of work to do after a disappointing 73 at the Stadium Course, which left him in 103rd place.
England's Richard Finch, who won twice on Tour in 2008 – famously falling into the water at the final hole of the Irish Open en route to victory – has high hopes of regaining his card after mustering just one top-10 finish this season.
A six-under-par 64 over the Tour Course left him tied for second, with the top 25 and ties set to earn a place on the 2014 Race to Dubai after a six-round marathon.
France's Edouard Espana leads the way after an eight-under-par 62, with Finch alongside compatriot Jamie Elson, Belgian Thomas Pieters, American Tain Lee and Swedes Michael Jonzon and Jens Dantorp.
Dantorp was the only player in the top 10 who began his challenge over the more difficult Stadium Course.
Former Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson was in a tie for 58th on one- under-par, but former European Tour winners Rhys Davies, James Morrison, Oliver Fisher, Kenneth Ferrie and Nick Dougherty were all unable to break par.
Wales' Phil Price was back on two-over-par.