Gavin Moynihan certainly went out on his shield as his final round 69 at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Oman just wasn’t enough to secure his European Tour card for next season.
Beginning the week 18th in the Order of Merit standings, Moynihan needed a top-7 outright finish to break into the top-15 in the Road to Oman rankings who would earn that privilege, but ends the season in a hugely commendable 19th spot after falling just shy this week.
The Dubliner’s spark returned today but unfortunately too late to challenge. He fired five birdies with just the two dropped shots to end the tournament on a positive note, claiming a share of 20th and a consolation cheques for € 4,291 and ending a great season on the Challenge Tour.
Gavin knew that whatever happened this week, he was still guaranteed some European Tour starts next year and that won’t change overnight. He is also exempt for Q School final stage later this month after finishing in the top 45 of the Race to Oman rankings.
At the top of the summit, where they all wanted to be sat Clément Sordet who claimed a memorable second victory of the season as Scott Fernandez and Bradley Neil dramatically clinched European Tour cards on the final day of the 2017 European Challenge Tour season.
The top 15 in the season-long Road to Oman Rankings will play in the Race to Dubai next year and there was much movement throughout the fourth round at Al Mouj Golf, with Sebastian Heisele and Robin Sciot-Siegrist ultimately the two to drop out of the European Tour places in the final week of the season.
Estanislao Goya and Oliver Lindell were two others who were inside the top 15 in yesterday’s projected rankings but endured difficult days as the wind picked up off the Sea of Oman, ultimately sharing 11th place – not enough to hold those European Tour positions.
Fernandez and Neil both turned in 33 to climb the leaderboard but started to falter on the back nine, each bogeying the 17th before making impressive pars on the last hole in the knowledge that a dropped shot would be costly.
They took the 14th and 15th cards for next season, Neil finishing 4,436 points ahead of Heisele for that final position, and they will both now embark on rookie seasons on the European Tour.
By contrast, Sordet’s progress to a fourth Challenge Tour title seemed relatively serene.
The Frenchman stretched his overnight lead to four shots with two early birdies and, with the charges of Erik van Rooyen and Goya falling away, he walked down the 18th with a two-shot lead.
A comfortable par saw him sign for a two under par round of 70 and a 15 under par total, taking the 25 year old to second place in the Rankings, with Marcus Kinhult the runner-up and Fernandez and van Rooyen sharing third place on 12 under par.
The round of the day came from Jens Dantorp, whose blemish-free 66 secured the Swede his European Tour card in a share of fifth place and concluded a remarkable fortnight following his victory in last week’s Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge.
Meanwhile, Tapio Pulkkanen was crowned Challenge Tour Number One, the first Finn to achieve this honour, with the 2017 graduates ultimately finishing like this: