Date: November 15, 2017
Author: Bernie McGuire

Aussie trio’s cards in sight

Canberra’s Matthew Millar superbly kept alive a goal of ending an eight-year absence to re-join the European Tour by making the all-important four-round cut in the European Tour’s Qualifying School in Spain.

Millar, 41 ended the round with a three-under-par 68 for an eight-under tally to be sharing 15th and more importantly 10 places inside the leading 25 who, at the end of Thursday’s sixth and final round on Lumine Golf Club course at Tarragona, will secure full tour membership.

By making the cut, Millar and fellow Aussies Ashley Hall and Jack Munro are guaranteed a place on the secondary Challenge Tour, but each will strive for more.

Millar began with a poor first-day 74 but regrouped on Monday with a 67 and then got his third day’s effort off to a flyer with a hat-trick of birdies before another on the fifth.

Millar, however, then doubled the par-four 13th and dropped a shot at the next before regrouping with birdies at 16 and the last.

The effort lifted Millar’s goal of returning to the European Tour for a first time since the 2009 season.

Millar has since contested just 16 Tour sanctioned events, among them three this season, but teeing up in each as a member of the Australasian Tour.

The affable Wollongong-born Millar, who is attached to the Gold Creek Country Club in the nation’s capital, trails only seven shots behind England’s Sam Horsfield who heads the field by a shot at 15 under.

Joining Millar in making the four-round cut was 20-year-old Queenslander Munro, who birdied his last hole in a 69 after earlier scores of 71, 69 and 71 to share 35th place at six under.

Munro headed to Spain with a best finish this PGA of Australasia season of T5th in May’s WA PGA Championship.

Towering Melburnian Hall also birdied his last hole in a score 71 and with the recently-turned 34-year-old having posted earlier scores of 73, 69 and 70, he made the cut by two shots in 59th at three under.

Unfortunately, Matthew Giles, third in the recent Fiji International, bogeyed his last hole in a round of 72 to miss the 284 cut by just a shot.

Also cut from the last two rounds were three-time Tour winner Richard Green (286), along with Dimi Papadatos (287), Adam Blyth (288), Nick Cullen (290) and Todd Sinnott (294).

Some other big-name European Tour stars cut from the final two days included Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and former Ryder Cup players Oliver Wilson and Niclas Fasth.