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This week’s Portugal Masters sees the battle to secure playing rights for the 2020 season reach its climax and for Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan, hopes of leaving the Algarve on Sunday with a European Tour card in their respective pockets are high ahead of Vilamoura.

Only 0.7 points separate Jack Singh Brar, who occupies the 117th and last qualifying position and his closest rival Dunne, one place outside the magic number.

Moynihan meanwhile is all the way back in 140th spot but after securing a career-best finish last week in France, a top-3 result should be enough for the Dubliner to retain his card for next year.

Although the stakes are high, the pair have played under more heightened pressure than this in the past and given the success of their short European Tour careers to date, no matter what happens this week, they’ll both be in a healthy position to go again next year with conditional status and Main Tour starts guaranteed for next season.

Helping even more is the fact that to date in 2019, Moynihan has banked €177,085 while Dunne has almost hit the €3 million mark in career earnings at just 26 years young. All that, on top of the support of loyal sponsors means that the 2018 GolfSixes winning partners have nothing to fear should they fall short in Vilamoura.

In all likelihood, a top-60 finish should be enough to see Dunne over the line with Moynihan staring down the barrel of a much taller order but irrespective of the finishing positions Sunday, the worst-case scenario at the end of tournament week in Portugal won’t be all that bad regardless.

Irish tee times, Thursday: 

09.10am – Paul Dunne 

12.30pm – Gavin Moynihan 

12.40pm – Michael Hoey

13.30pm – Padraig Harrington


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