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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019
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Lawrie among four Irish golfers going back to school after losing Tour card

The lottery of the European Tour’s Qualifying School awaits.

After more than a decade on Tour, Lawrie's place is under threat.
After more than a decade on Tour, Lawrie's place is under threat.
Image: Andrew Redington

FOUR IRISH GOLFERS, including former Open de Espana winner Peter Lawrie, have lost their European Tour cards after finishing outside the top 110 in the Race to Dubai standings.

Lawrie, who has been on the tour for a decade, as well as Kevin Phelan, Simon Thornton and Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin must now go through the Qualifying School next month in order to retain their place on the circuit for 2015.

The top 25 finishers at the PGA Course in Catalunya will earn membership of the European Tour for next season. The six-round shoot-out takes place between 15th and 20th November.

Both Lawrie and Maybin’s fate was sealed when they missed the cut at the final event of the regular season in Perth, which was won this morning by Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

After taking several years to eventually break onto the circuit, 40-year-old Lawrie enjoyed instant success as he became the first Irishman to be named Rookie of the Year in his debut season in 2003.

His only tour win came four years ago as he defeated Ignacio Garrido in a play-off to win the Spanish Open.

Phelan, who successfully negotiated the Qualifying School twelve months ago, needed to finish fourth in Australia but a closing-round 72 meant he finished in a tie for 35th. As it was, he came up €61,000 in prize money short of finishing inside the buffer zone.

Darren Clarke, meanwhile, finished in 135th place in the order of merit but avoids the lottery of the Q-School by virtue of the exemption he earned by winning the Open in 2011.

The European Tour’s Race to Dubai Final series commences next week in Shanghai with plenty of Irish involvement. World number one Rory McIlroy heads the sixty-man field which also includes Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Michel Hoey.

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Ryan Bailey

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