European Qualifying School Finals: Kearney left flying flag
Niall Kearney brilliantly chipped in for a late eagle three to keep his European Tour dream alive at the Qualifying School finals at PGA Golf de Catalunya.
The Dubliner (22) made the four-round cut with a shot to spare on four-under par when he picked up four shots in his last seven holes to post a rollercoaster, level par 72 on the Stadium Course.
But while Kearney was “relieved” to survive thanks to his gutsy finish, there was bitter disappointment for the other three Irish hopefuls who had travelled to Girona hoping to finish among the top-30 and ties after six rounds. As Athlone's Colm Moriarty and Belfast's Damian Mooney missed the cut comfortably, former Royal County Down assistant Simon Thornton was one of 19 unlucky souls eliminated on two-under par following a late birdie by the Swede Joakim Lagergren in the last match of the day.
Thornton came to the par-four ninth at the Stadium Course level par for the day and teetering on the edge at three under par.
But he hooked his tee shot into trouble, bunkered his second and missed an eight footer for par to card a 73 and finish on two under par. A late bogey by veteran Santiago Luna appeared to hand the Co Down resident a reprieve as the projected cut fell to two under.
But Lagergren birdied his 16th hole to see exactly 70 players finish on three under par and leave Thornton to reflect on what might have been.
While Kearney is now tied for 55th place, he is just three shots outside the top 30 and ties who will earn cards following tomorrow's sixth and final round.