Gallant Evans just misses out on European Tour card

Ben Evans narrowly missed out on a European Tour card for next season. Picture courtesy Agathe Seron
Ben Evans narrowly missed out on a European Tour card for next season. Picture courtesy Agathe Seron
  • Ben Evans agonisingly misses out on European Tour card for 2016
  • Staplecross professional finishes 111th on 2015 Race to Dubai standings
  • The top 110 gain full playing privileges for next year
  • Evans finishes tied 11th in Hong Kong Open this morning
  • 28-year-old produces brilliant back nine of 31 in final round

Golf star Ben Evans agonisingly missed out on a European Tour card for next season despite an excellent performance in Asia this weekend.

The Staplecross-based professional came tied 11th in the UBS Hong Kong Open to rise to 111th in the season-long Race to Dubai standings - one solitary place outside the all-important top 110.

Matt Ford, who began the week at 117th, secured his card with a tie for seventh, but Evans, who was one place behind Ford at 118th and finished one shot behind him, fell agonisingly short.

Evans came home in 31 as he stormed up the leaderboard in today’s (Sunday’s) final round, but his nine-under-par total at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling meant he missed out on his 2016 place by a mere 1,008 points.

He wrote on social media site Twitter afterwards: “Thank you to everyone that sent me a txt of support, gave it everything on the back 9 but came up a place short. Pretty gutted right now.”

The 28-year-old began the final full field event of the season with an eventful one-under-par 69 on Thursday containing six birdies and five bogeys. He birdied three of the first five holes only to bogey four of the next five.

Evans followed that with a one-over 71 on Friday. He birdied two of his first three holes, but a subsequent bogey and a double bogey on his penultimate hole meant he only made the cut on the mark at level par.

Evans moved up 38 places to tied 23rd after a very good third round 66 yesterday. Four birdies and two bogeys on the front nine were followed by three birdies in four holes from the 10th and a bogey at the 14th.

He gained a further 12 positions courtesy of a splendid five-under 65 today. A birdie at the first was offset by a bogey at the second before Evans conjured up five birdies in a scintillating seven-hole burst from the 11th.

The result continued a terrific finish to the season for Evans, who has made the cut in eight of his last nine tournaments and achieved top 20 finishes in four of them.

In all throughout the year, Evans achieved top 20 finishes in nine European Tour events, including top 10s in Russia and Morocco, as well as another top 20 on the second tier European Challenge Tour.

Evans, who lies 356th in the Official World Golf Ranking, has category 16 membership of the European Tour this year having finished 17th in the European Challenge Tour rankings in 2014.

He will remain in the same category for next year, but a place in the top 110 would have moved him up to category 10 and thereby given him more playing opportunities.

Evans played in 21 European Tour events this year, many of them lower profile tournaments, whereas a player in category 10 could expect to gain around 30 starts.

A top 25 finish at the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain next month would nudge Evans up to category 15 and potentially open up a few more doors for next year.

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