Marc Warren survived a late rules drama to regain his European Tour card at Qualifying School in Spain this afternoon.
The Scot ultimately carded a three-under 68 in the final round of the six-round marathon at Lumine to finish comfortably inside the top 25 places, the threshold for a places on the main tour.
However, that was only after a late scare on the par-3 17th, where it initially appeared as though he had made a double-bogey to fall outside of the card spots.
The three-time European Tour winner, 37, explained: I hit a decent shot although it was probably half a club out, a little left of the flag, and finished in a horrible sandy lie on the tongue of the bunker. So I had to take a kind of awkward stance and try and hit it left of where I was aiming to get it toward the flag."
As he started his downswing, Warren’s foot “totally gave way” under the sand.
“I tried to stop my club from hitting the ball, so I pulled out of the shot but the club kind of went above the ball,” he added.
"Because the club went past the ball, it was unclear whether or not
that counted as a penalty shot, even though the intent was to stop,” he
“It was a foot higher than the ball, so it was pretty clear what the intent was but, in my head, I was telling myself I’d made double-bogey on 17 to try to stay as aggressive down the last to try and make [a birdie] four. Thankfully, I did that and, just as thankfully, it turned out it wasn’t a penalty shot.”
Despite his joy at regaining his card, Warren admitted that the week had been far from enjoyable.
“It was my first time being in contention [for a card] like this
and I probably underestimated how tough it is,” he admitted. “It’s not a
pleasant way to play golf but obviously there’s a means to an end.
Hats off to @MarcWarrenGolf on getting the job done at what is without doubt the most horrible golf tournament of the year. Shows how good he really is.— Craig Ronald (@Golfercraig) November 15, 2018
“I learned a lot about myself this week, particularly in terms of being patient. I wouldn’t say I’ve been great at that in the past.
“I had two things in my head: patience and commitment. Over every shot, I just kept telling myself to be committed and in between shots it was ‘stay patient’. You see guys 18, 19 or 20-under after three or four rounds and you can convince yourself that you need to make a lot of birdies as quick as you can but you have to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Warren's joy was in stark contrast to agony for his fellow Scot Duncan Stewart who just missed out on his card after finishing in a tie for 28th – one shot outside the qualification spaces.
Connor Syme and Craig Ross, the only other two Scots to make the cut in the card shoot-out, finished well down the leaderboard on ten-under and nine-under respectively.