Jamie McLeary can look forward to playing on the European Tour next season for the first time in his career after earning the 15th and final card from the Challenge Tour rankings.
On a nail-biting final day at the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club, the Scot – a professional since 2006 – knew he needed to final no worse than tied for second to force his way into the card places. And he did just that.
Four birdies in his first 13 holes saw Jamie McLeary pull three clear of the chasing pack at one point, and on his own in second, but a bogey at the 15th saw him slip back towards those behind before eventually finishing in a tie alongside José-Felipe Lima.
A nervous wait followed for Jamie McLeary before it was confirmed he had jumped from 33rd place at the start of the tournament to claim the 15th and final card.
The Peterhead-born man will now embark on a debut season with European golf’s elite after what was his eighth season on the Challenge Tour.
“I started to worry that I would never make it to he European Tour" - Jamie McLeary
“I’m delighted," explained the 32-year-old. "To finish the way I did was nice, as I knew it was going to be a tough day and I kind of knew the score I wanted to shoot and that’s what I was aiming for.
"The guys I was playing with had already confirmed their European Tour cards so when they started out like a train I knew I needed to finish second or tied second. I was able to stay patient and I only made one bogey all day."
Jamie McLeary added: “I started to worry that I would never make it to he European Tour, that I was one of those guys that was really consistent but without the big finishes at the big events that I needed. It has taken a lot longer than I thought it would, and the older you get the more nervous you get, but I’ve got my chance now and I’m confident I’ll take it.”
McLeary's joy was in marked contrast to the disappointment of his fellow Scots, Duncan Stewart and Andrew McArthur, who finished narrowly outside the qualification places, Stewart in 20th and McArthur in 26th,
Jamie McLeary: Part of a winning team
Jamie McLeary’s final day heroics in Dubai continues the success of the Team Scottish Hydro initiative, which has helped players establish a foothold on the main tour for each of the last three years. Craig Lee earned his card in 2011, and Chris Doak and Callum Macaulay did likewise last year, before McLeary continued that success this year.