The 18th hole at Valderrama may forever haunt Adam Bland after the South Australian missed the cut in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and subsequently failed to retain his European Tour card for 2019.
As Sergio Garcia claimed his third straight title at the tournament hosted by his own foundation, there was great interest throughout the leaderboard as players jockeyed for positions within the top 116 in the Race to Dubai rankings in the final full-field event of the year.
At the start of the week Bland was ranked 117th on the Order of Merit and needed to make the cut to all but guarantee his status for next year, as the six affiliate members ahead of him don’t count towards the top 110 cut-off.
As storms lashed Sotogrande and ultimately reduced it to a 54-hole tournament and a Monday finish, Bland arrived at the 18th hole during his second round just inside the cut line at three-over when disaster struck. A double-bogey 6 meant the left-hander missed qualifying for the weekend by a single shot and fell five spots in the rankings to 122nd, resulting in limited status on Europe’s main tour in 2019.
Thankfully for Bland, he has full playing rights on the Japan Golf Tour for next year and is now exempt into the Final Stage of European Tour Qualifying School in Spain from November 10 should he wish to attempt to gain one of the 25 cards on offer there.
Bland will have to dust himself off quickly however, as both he and Brett Rumford, who withdrew midway through his first round in Spain, are in the field for this week’s HSBC Champions World Golf Championships event in China thanks to finishing top-two on the 2017 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
Marcus Fraser may also be headed back to Final Stage of Q-School to retain his playing rights in Europe after he snuck in to the top 145 courtesy of a tie for 29th at Valderrama that was bolstered by a third round of 68.
Although he is unlikely to tee it up again in Europe next year, Jason Norris signed off in positive fashion with his best result of the year, a tie for eighth that netted him €44,933 and a final standing of 180th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
West Australian Jason Scrivener wrapped up his card for next year with a tie for 22nd in Spain while Wade Ormsby can now set his sights on the first of the finals series events, next week’s Turkish Airlines Open, after finishing tied for 52nd and 46th in the Race to Dubai rankings.
Andrew Dodt will have a nervous wait to see if he is exempt into Final Stage after his tie for 42nd saw him finish the season 147th on the Order of Merit but there are no such concerns for fellow Queenslander Scott Hend, 91st overall after he finished the week tied for 66th.
Sam Brazel, who didn’t play the Andalucia Masters, remains exempt for 2019 courtesy of his win at the UBS Hong Kong Open at the end of 2016.