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Chris MacLean knows better than anyone just how close he came.

Standing on the 14th in the final round at the EuroPro Tour Championship, the young Scot led the way knowing if he held on, he would stamp his ticket to the Challenge Tour.

Only a win would have been enough to secure one of the five coveted places.

However, a missed birdie putt rocked the Balmore native, who eventually finished in a tie for third.

“It’s pretty devastating,” MacLean told bunkered.co.uk.

“Standing over the birdie putt on 14 it was my tournament to lose, so to lose it was absolutely gutting. The putter kind of deserted me on the back nine.

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“It’s nice to know I can perform when I’m under the cosh, but I should have been closer.

“I had a chat with some of the guys and we were saying second or 60th was the exact same, so you might as well have a go. For 50 holes I was in the mix.”

MacLean has had much more to contend with this year than just a misbehaving putter, however.

Having begun his campaign on the Pro Golf Tour, the war in Ukraine forced him into a rethink and led to him playing mostly EuroPro events.

“It’s been a bit of a ‘what-if’ season. I’ve played a lot of really good golf at times,” he continued.

“I started off on the Pro Golf Tour but because of the situation in Ukraine I had to pivot quite hard. I’d never intended to play on the EuroPro Tour this year.

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“There’s been a lot of things I’ve been happy with but if you shoot one-under on this tour you fall down the leaderboard.”

The season was thrown into further chaos just three weeks ago following the EuroPro Tour’s shock announcement that this season would be its last.

Players, some without status on any other circuit, were left scrambling. MacLean counts himself among the fortunate ones.

“I’m relatively lucky because I’ve still got status on the Pro Golf Tour in Germany,” he said.

“I can play a few Tartan Pro Tour events too so hopefully I will be able to cobble together enough good results to get a Challenge Tour card next year.

“It wasn’t a split-second decision [to shut down the tour] but by the time it was announced a lot of Q-schools had already closed so it caught a few boys out.

“The EuroPro was a decent tour. It was definitely a chance to get a Challenge Tour card without spending as much money.”

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For now, MacLean plans to put the clubs away, but the hard work must continue ahead of next season as he resumes his quest.

“I’ll shut it down for a couple of months, get a job in a bar or something and do some coaching stuff,” he added.

“I may do my PGA. I have got a few different irons in the fire.”

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