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   Richard McEvoy      

McEvoy Secures Maiden Victory At Qualifying School Finals
Englishman Richard McEvoy timed his maiden professional victory to perfection as he won The European Tour Qualifying School Finals with a six round total of 400, 28 under par, and secured the first of 35 available cards for The 2004 European Tour International Schedule – and a winner’s cheque for €16,066.

McEvoy, who finished 19th on the Challenge Tour Rankings this season, took control of the six round tournament staged over two courses at Emporda Golf Club and Golf Platja de Pals on day five – firing a brilliant eight under par 63 at Emporda GC before securing the title with a final round 67 at the same venue to finish three shots clear of Australian Wade Ormsby, who had a last day 66 for 25 under par 403.

“I set a goal to win this week after missing out on The Challenge Tour,” said McEvoy, whose aggregate total of 400 equalled the lowest ever winning total at the Qualifying School – set by Per Nyman last year. “It’s been a great week and I’m obviously pleased to shoot a great score as well.

“I finished 19th on the Challenge Tour this season which fell about €5,000 short of the top 15. I knew I was playing well enough coming here and that I was a good enough player to get my card this week after missing out by one last year. Winning here has proved that.

“I was relaxed today. Well, semi-relaxed and semiconscious about trying to win to get more starts for next year. I was looking forward to the day and now I can look forward to playing on The European Tour next season.”

McEvoy will now join five of his team mates from the victorious 2001 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team on The European Tour, after Steven O’Hara also secured his card at Emporda GC – closing the week with a 72 for a 21 under par total and the 13th available card.

Jamie Elson had already secured his card for 2004, coming tenth on the Challenge Tour Rankings. Those three will now join Luke Donald, Nick Dougherty and Greame McDowell on the main Tour.

“At the time that was a great team,” said McEvoy. “It is showing now with people on Tour and what they have done so far and hopefully what I am going to do in the next few years as well. Seeing Nick win Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 2002 and Graeme win his first tournament the same year has made me realise how good I can play and spurred me on to get where they are.”

Ormsby was the winner at Chart Hills during Stage One of the Qualifying School and the best placed of the eight players who had come through all three stages. The Australian is thrilled by the prospect of joining his good friend Adam Scott on The European Tour next season.

“I’ll probably go and live with Adam near Wentworth next year,” he said. “He is a great friend of mine, and someone I look up to. I think if I can get anywhere near to his standard on the Tour then I’ll be keeping my card!”

Damien McGrane
Irishman Damien McGrane matched Ormsby’s 66 to take the third card on 23 under par 405, with Jeppe Huldahl from Denmark equalling that total to take fourth spot. Huldahl was one of four players who only turned professional at the start of the tournament, two of whom secured their cards with Huldahl being joined by 19 year old Swede, Steven Jeppesen (21st), who and finished with an six round total of 19 under par.

Four former European Tour winners also secured cards at Emporda GC. Warren Bennett (eighth), David Carter (17th), Jorge Berendt (24th) and Miguel Angel Martin (27th) will all be back on Tour again next year.

Wade Ormsby
Indeed, Berendt’s shot to the last was one of the best of the week as he hit the flagstick from 218 yards with a four wood to set up a closing eagle three to secure his European Tour card on 19 under par.

Scotsman Euan Little, who sank an eight foot birdie putt to make the six under par Qualifying School cut on day four, completed the week’s biggest comeback, firing two superb rounds of 66-65 on the last two days to secure the 32nd card.

The last available spot on next year’s European Tour International Schedule went to Desvonde Botes. The South African, who won the 2000 Qualifying School Finals, birdied his 108th and last hole to force his way into 35th place.

Courtesy of www.europeantour.com

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