Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin will look to round off very disappointing DP World Tour seasons on a high at the Portugal Masters as the race to secure full DP World Tour playing privileges for next season reaches a dramatic conclusion.
Bar something remarkable Caldwell and Sharvin will be heading to the Final Stage of Q-School to try and earn their way back onto Europe’s top tier for 2023.
38-year-old Caldwell arrives at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course – where Pádraig Harrington and Shane Lowry have picked up wins in the past – knowing that he can’t break inside the top-117 on the Race to Dubai but a win would be the alternative route.
Following a season best finish of 23rd in Mallorca last week, the Clandeboye man believes he is making progress ahead of the unenviable task of Q-School.
“Realistically, we’re preparing for Q-School. Things seem to be trending in the right direction so hopefully we can continue that this week.
“This season has been massively disappointing. I’ve made some good changes in the last six weeks and things are starting to turn, so hopefully I can get a spot through Q-School.
“I’d like to be playing better this season but it is what it is. Just to keep at it and trying to improve and hopefully we can get back out here and travel around a bit more.”
“I’ve played well at the event in the past but haven’t had excellent results, but I feel comfortable on the golf course,” added the Co Down man.
“It’s really on the week. If I can get the putter going then maybe I can contend. It’s not a place I’m dreading to go to. It’ll be a nice week.
“It’ll just be the same attitude as any other week, take it from there and see what I can get. Try my best and see where it takes us.”
Caldwell tees off alongside Jeff Winther and former Irish Open champion John Catlin while Sharvin is grouped with Hugo Leon and Raphael Jacquelin.
The Portugal Masters is a rare week where all the attention is really on what happens around the bubble on the Race to Dubai rather than who wins and there are a host of notable names fighting for their future this week.
Victor Dubuisson is 114th on the Race to Dubai. The Frenchman is a familiar name to European golf fans. He is a two-time DP World Tour winner and was a member of the Ryder Cup team in 2014, the same year he lost out to Jason Day in a dramatic final at the WGC-Dell Match Play. His appearances have been limited since those heady days but he knows what is needed this week, having finished 111th, 106th and 111th in the past three seasons. He has played just five weekends in 2022 but a tie for fourth in the Rolex Series event at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has him right in the hunt to keep his card.
Jazz Janewattananond is 116th. The Thai knows what it is like to play under pressure, having chipped in for eagle at the final hole of the Qualifying School to earn his card on the number in 2017. He has two runner-up finishes on Tour with a further seven top tens, the most important of which may have come last week. When he holed a 46-footer on the 11th for an eagle on Sunday at the Mallorca Golf Open, he was comfortably keeping his card, but he went bogey-double bogey before a birdie on the 17th sealed a tie for sixth and left him in his current position.
Italian speedster Renato Paratore is on the outside looking in at 122nd. After coming through the Qualifying School at just 17 in 2014, he narrowly kept his card in his rookie campaign and did not look back, winning the Nordea Masters in 2017 and British Masters in 2020. In that 2020 campaign he finished 21st in the Rankings as he completed five consecutive seasons in the top 100. But he was outside the top 200 in July before back-to-back top fives in a run of four consecutive top 30s put him back within touching distance of a card.
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