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Joy for Murphy but McElroy misses Challenge Tour card

Kinsale’s John Murphy clinched his Challenge Tour card without hitting a shot, but Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy missed out on his despite making an ace in a closing 65 in the Europro Tour’s Matchroom Tour Championship at Slaley Hall.

urphy missed the cut in the Challenge Costa Brava but remained in the top 70 in the Road to Mallorca standings, claiming 69th spot and a strong Challenge Tour card for 2022.

Michael Hoey finished 29th behind New Zealander Daniel Hillier at Empordà Golf after a closing 68 to finish 36th in the rankings and make next month’s Grand Final after which the top 20 in the standings will get  European Tour cards.

McElroy was looking to remain in the top five in the third-tier Europro Tour rankings who secured promotion to the Challenge Tour but fell two spots to seventh after his tie for 24th in the Tour Championship.

The former West of Ireland winner paid for opening rounds of 76 and 78, and while he made a hole-in-one in at the fifth in a bogey-free, seven-under 65, he wins only Category 20 membership of the Challenge Tour next year which will only be worth one or two starts.

At the European Tour’s Mallorca Open, Bryce Easton opened up a four-shot lead with one hole to play before play was suspended.

Ranked 195th in the Race to Dubai, the South African (34) needs a big finish to secure his card.

He made five birdies and a single bogey to lead on 11-under par through 17 holes, four strokes ahead of overnight leader Jeff Winther of Denmark and Spain’s Jorge Campillo, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez and Alvaro Quiros.

Jonathan Caldwell was tied 22nd on three-under after a 71 with Cormac Sharvin sitting on the one-over cut line after a 70.

However, Niall Kearney looked set to miss the weekend on two-over after a 72 with Paul Dunne three-over after a 76 and Gavin Moynihan 12-over following a 75.

At Stage II of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in Florida, Olivia Mehaffey has a mountain to climb to make the top 45 who progress to next month’s Q-Series after adding a 74 to her opening 80 to remain near the back of the field on 10-over par at halfway.

In amateur golf, AIG Senior Cup holders Roganstown moved up to sixth place heading into today’s final round of the European Men’s Club Trophy at Troia Golf in Portugal, while Scotland’s Derek Paton closed with one-over 74 to win the Irish Senior Men’s Amateur Open by a shot from England’s Stuart Brown on four-over at Donegal Golf Club. 

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