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Dermot McElroy unable to earn Challenge Tour card despite sinking a hole-in-one


Jonathan Caldwell has work to do at the Mallorca Open. Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Jonathan Caldwell has work to do at the Mallorca Open. Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Getty Images

Jonathan Caldwell has work to do at the Mallorca Open. Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Despite a hole-in-one, Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy came up just shy in his bid to earn a Challenge Tour card for next season at the Matchroom Tour Championship on the PGA EuroPro Tour.

The 28-year-old holed his tee shot on the 181-yard fifth at Slaley Hall on his way to a superb closing seven-under 65, but finishing tied-24th for the week at three over wasn’t enough to keep him in the top five of the Order of Merit which earned promotion.

Starting the week fifth in the season standings, and with the winner of the £25,000 event all but guaranteed to secure one of the top five spots, McElroy would have needed to finish high to maintain his position, but opening rounds of 76 and 78 left him with too much to do at 10 over.

The win, and one of the Challenge Tour cards, went to Jamie Rutherford, who claimed a one-shot victory over Calum Fyfe, Dan Brown and Jack McDonald.

McElroy did not go away empty-handed, however, as he will receive Category 20 membership on the Challenge Tour for next season having finished seventh in the EuroPro Order of Merit, which will earn him limited starts on the second tier in 2022.

Meanwhile, at the Mallorca Golf Open on the European Tour, Jonathan Caldwell is the leading Ulsterman, eight shots back of leader Bryce Easton at the halfway stage at Golf Santa Ponsa.

The Clandeboye ace had been making moves on his front nine after back-to-back bogeys, but he dropped three shots in two holes at 11 and 12 to eventually card a one-over 71 on day two and finish three over in a share of 21st.

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Caldwell is trying to earn a spot in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship by breaking back into the top 60 in the Race to Dubai, however as it stands he is set to stay in 96th.

Cormac Sharvin also made the cut after three birdies on his back nine saw him card a 70 in his second round to get back to one over and a tie for 59th, but the 29-year-old is projected to fall to 169th in the Race to Dubai as he looks to nail down a top 125 place to keep his card for next season.

At the top, South Africa’s Easton had reached 11 under and was four under for the day with one hole to go when poor light suspended play, holding a healthy four-shot lead over a group of four at seven under.

On the Challenge Tour, Michael Hoey secured his place in the season-ending Tour Championship after finishing 29th at the Challenge Costa Brava at Empordà Golf in Girona, Spain.

The Ballymoney man fired a three-under 68 in his final round to finish the week at six under to book his place in Mallorca next month, where he will hope to break into the top 20 in the Order of Merit and earn a European Tour card for next season.

At The Girls’ Under-16 Amateur, Knock’s Katie Poots will start today’s final round three shots off leaders Rosie Bee Kim and Frankie Dezis at Enville after a four-over second round left her on the same score overall.

And at the Irish Seniors’ Amateur Open at Donegal, Castlerock’s David Mulholland was the best Ulster finisher in a tie for fifth at eight over, four shots behind winner Derek Paton.

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