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Jonathan Caldwell earns European Tour card after top-25 finish at Q-School


Clandeboye golfer Jonathan Caldwell, who has earned his European Tour card

Clandeboye golfer Jonathan Caldwell, who has earned his European Tour card

Matt Mackey / PressEye.com

Clandeboye golfer Jonathan Caldwell, who has earned his European Tour card

Clandeboye golfer Jonathan Caldwell has earned a European Tour card for 2020 after a sensational performance saw him finish inside the top-25 at Qualifying School in Spain.

The 35-year-old produced an excellent display at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain to finish at 13-under-par, which was enough to see him comfortably inside the threshold.

Caldwell braved the marathon event, which has been played over the last six days and saw 158 competitors compete across six gruelling rounds for just 25 cards, and excelled.

After making Monday's four-round cut at seven-under-par, the Ulsterman recorded 69 on Tuesday and then a sparkling 67 on Wednesday to secure his spot on the main Tour.

Having mainly plied his trade on the third-tier EuroPro Tour this season, where he finished seventh in the Order of Merit, now Caldwell will rub shoulders with some of the best in the world next year.

Earning his European Tour card will not grant Caldwell a free pass into some of the year's biggest events - like the Major tournaments or World Golf Championships - but it does ensure he will play the majority of his golf at the top table.

This is the second time Caldwell has come through Q-School to earn his card having also done so back in 2008. Back then, he made just four cuts and his highest finish was tied-31st, leading to him losing his playing rights after one season.

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In order to retain his card for 2021, the Clandeboye man will have to finish in the top-115 on the 2020 Race to Dubai standings, which will require him to earn around 400 points across the season.

It is likely that Caldwell will try and get an early start on picking up those crucial points, with the 2020 season officially beginning next weekend in South Africa at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, although it is unclear if Caldwell will feature there.

The former Walker Cup player will join fellow Northern Irishman Cormac Sharvin in making the step up to the top level after the Ardglass ace also earned his card through his finish in the Challenge Tour's Order of Merit.

Q-School was won by Benjamin Poke of Denmark, who finished at 25-under-par, while other notable names such as Gregory Havret, Alejandro Canizares and SSP Chawrasia also made the top-25.

Of the local hopes at Q-School, Dublin's Gavin Moynihan and Niall Kearney both missed out, but will receive higher exemptions for next season's Challenge Tour because they made the cut.

Ballymoney's Michael Hoey and Irishman Robin Dawson also gained their second-tier cards despite missing the Q-School cut, but they will receive lower exemptions as a result.