independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Q-School heartbreak for Higgins

Heartbreak for David Higgins

David Higgins only has himself to blame, but he will remember the name Hans Peter Bacher for some time after agonisingly missing the cut by a single shot at the European Tour Qualifying School finals in Spain.

The 39-year-old Kerryman produced a sterling fourth-round display on the rugged Stadium Course to move inside the crucial top-70 and ties at four- under for the tournament with just the 449-yard 18th to play.

However, he pushed his drive into the rough, found sand right of the green with a rescue and missed a four- footer for par that would prove crucial.

Despite carding a 70 to finish on three-under-par, he faced an anxious 35-minute wait to see if Austrian Hans Peter Bacher, who was three-under with three to play in the final group on the Stadium Course, could pick up a shot over his last three holes and leave exactly 70 players inside four-under.

birdie

In the end the young Austrian went one better, finishing birdie-par-birdie to send all the three-unders, including Higgins, down to 71st place.

"That's it then," said a disconsolate Higgins before disappearing into the gathering gloom.

It was a sad end to a battling day for the popular Waterville man, who had birdied the sixth, 10th and 15th to get to four-under for the tournament.

He dropped his first shot of the day at the par-three 16th where playing partner Knut Borsheim holed a five- iron from 206 yards for an ace -- the Norwegian's second hole-in-one inside 24 hours, having also holed out from the 14th tee on the Tour Course on Monday.

But after a brave birdie from 15 feet at the 17th looked to have put him safely through to the last two rounds, that final-hole bogey and Bacher's brilliant finish crushed Higgins' hopes of a tour return next season.

The remainder Irish contenders also packed their bags for home. On the Tour Course, Ballymena's Chris Devlin shot a two-under 68 to finish 101st on one-over with Jonny Caldwell (71) and Cian McNamara (69) tied 139th on nine-over.

All four Irish contenders will have category 12 membership of the Challenge Tour next year and Devlin is hoping it will be enough to secure a grant from the Team Ireland Golf Trust.

England's Sam Hutsby shot a one-under 71 on the Stadium Course to lead by two strokes from compatriot Andy Sullivan (72) on 16-under-par, but Nick Dougherty failed to keep his card as he finished seven shots outside the cut mark on three-over after a one-under-69 yesterday.

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