Missing a tour card by a single shot is a common hard-luck story in the world of professional golf, and it has hit Jason Scrivener hard in his first year as a European Tour member.
5,244 shots made up Scrivener’s 2015 season, which culminated with an outstanding T3 performance today at the Hong Kong Open.
It turns out that 5,243 shots would have been enough to secure a full membership on next year's European Tour. The West Aussie arrived in Hong Kong knowing he needed to finish outright third or better, but fell just one short as he tied alongside Matt Fitzpatrick, Patrick Reed and Soomin Lee on 11-under, six back of winner Justin Rose.
It’s hard to see Scrivener losing too much sleep over his efforts this week. With rounds of 68, 68, 65 and 68, the Mandurah golfer did everything he could, including sinking a monster 30 foot putt on the last hole, to keep his slim hopes of a top three finish alive.
Scrivener achieved a career best European Tour performance just when he needed it the most. Despite cracking the top 20 five times in 2015, this was his first ever finish inside the top 10.
Scrivener will walk away with a Category 16 membership for next season. This week’s finish will significantly improve his standing within that category, but it’s still a slight step down from the Category 15 membership that netted 24 starts this year.
A Category 15 membership is still on offer at qualifying school, and Scrivener is set to contest the marathon six round final stage next month in Spain. After surging to earning his card last year with a sixth round of 66, Scrivener stated he never wanted to go through that experience again, however the pressure this time around will be lessened with some status assured.
Victorian Nathan Holman is in a similar situation, finishing T35 after a disappointing final round of 75. Holman will also take a Category 16 membership away from this season, but will have the chance to improve on that at Q-School.
Daniel Gaunt and Terry Pilkadaris placed T55 and T59 respectively in Hong Kong, and will likely join Scrivener and Holman at the final stage of qualifying school after ending the season ranked in the 110-145 range.
There's better news for NSW's Marcus Fraser, who finished T32 and will likely maintain his position in the top 60 in the Race to Dubai, qualifying for the lucrative four week finals series that features events with prize money up to €8.5 million (AU$12.97 million).
Unfortunately for Andrew Dodt, ranked 72nd to start week, he will miss out on the finals series despite placing T18 with an impressive final round of 66.
Before heading to Spain for Q-School, WA’s Scrivener will have the chance to earn some encouragement from his home fans, with a start confirmed at the WA Open from November 5.
An in form Scrivener will be tough to beat on a local track at Royal Fremantle, with four top twenties to go with this week's top ten from in his last eight starts.