Jonathan Caldwell is returning to the top tier of European Tour golf after coming through 180 holes of Qualifying School hell unscathed.
10 years after the Clandeboye professional plied his trade as a spritely 25-year old on the Main Tour with little success, the now 35-year old Caldwell has earned a second shot at the big time after firing himself to one of 25 cards on offer at the toughest examination in golf.
Having entered the week at Lumine with the goal of making the four-round cut at the six-round slog in order to win his sole status back on the Challenge Tour, Caldwell’s play assured not only improved status next year but the distinct possibility of bettering his promotion to the Holy Grail of European Golf.
Inside the magic number, on the number, at nine-under par entering the sixth and final day, the Northern Irishman adopted an attitude of everything’s a bonus with his goals already fulfilled – but that didn’t alleviate the pressure as it came down to the crunch.
At three-under par on the day and where he needed to be on the scoreboard, a bogey at 15 hardly knocked him off his stride with the Northern Irishman getting that shot back immediately on 16, to be sharing 20th at 12-under par with just two obstacles to navigate.
He parred the penultimate with a nerveless three, leaving the par-5 18th standing in the way of Caldwell and a European Tour card as he looked to join recent graduate, Cormac Sharvin in the Promised Land.
And sure enough, he delivered one better, rubber-stamping his Main Tour credentials with a birdie four at the last for a four-under par round of 67 – his fifth round under par for the week, his best round in six at Lumine, and with that performance arriving precisely when he needed it most.
The 67 saw him burst inside the top-20 at 13-under par and after missing out on a full Challenge Tour card a month ago at the EuroPro Tour’s Tour Championship by a little under £350, Caldwell’s fortunes have been completely transformed ahead of a shot at the big time next season. We couldn’t be happier for one of the good guys of Irish golf – well done Jonny!!
— Clandeboye Golf Club, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. (@ClandeboyeGC) November 20, 2019
Sadly, neither Gavin Moynihan nor Niall Kearney managed to rise such an effort on the final day. The pair performed admirably with Moynihan’s 69 bringing him alongside Kearney at eight-under par for the tournament, a position Kearney remained after posting a closing even par 71, with the pair eventually finishing just outside the top-40.
Having made the fourth round cut, both players have secured sole status to the Challenge Tour next season.
Full scoring HERE