Richie Ramsay was a relieved man after his tie for 11th at the Andalusian Masters ensured he retained his European Tour card for 2019. The 35-year-old Scot was 124th in the rankings ahead of the final event of the regular season at Valderrama over the weekend and needed a strong performance to climb into the top 116 in order to avoid a trip to the Final Stage of Qualifying School next month.
And his joint-11th placing in the weather-restricted 54-hole event in Spain moved him to 115th place to ensure he scraped in.
“I didn’t sleep the best but I think I came out and proved a lot to myself,” said Ramsay.
“It was arguably under the most pressure I’ve ever felt coming down the stretch, but it’s a course I love which made it far easier to go out there and play.
“I had some good looks at some great putts on 16 and 17 and then I rolled in a nice little tester at the end from about three feet. A three-footer under normal circumstances is very easy, but not when your job is on the line. I’m just proud of the way I played.”
Seven-time European Tour winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was also in a celebratory mood after his tie for fifth moved him up from 125th to 104th.
He said: “If I had to choose a tournament to keep my card it’s probably this one. It doesn’t particularly suit my game, but it’s a course I know very well, and also I knew the scoring would not be extremely low.
“I’m very excited to be back with full status on the European Tour; it’s always been my home tour and will always be. I’ve been away for a few years trying the American dream, unfortunately it didn’t happen for me, but it’s good to be back. I believe I still have a few years ahead to win tournaments, and hopefully 2019 will be one of them.”