Gary Hurley remained steady to the end in securing his full card for the DP World Tour next season in successfully negotiating the torture chamber that is Final Qualifying School at Tarragona in Spain. And his journey into the big-time was not made alone, as John Murphy kept the best until last in leapfrogging his way into the leading 25 players and ties to also lay claim to a precious ticket.
Hurley, who had soldiered on the Alps development circuit for much of the year, closed out the six-round marathon with a final round 69 for a 19-under-par total of 409, 10 shots adrift of impressive Q-School winner Simon Forsstrom of Sweden.
The 29-year-old Waterford man moved up three places to finish in tied-13th place to earn his full playing privileges on the DP World Tour for the upcoming season. “I was brilliant today with my approach, my mindset for the whole day,” said Hurley of closing the deal to secure full playing rights, a far cry from just a year ago when he had no status anywhere before transforming his mental approach and reaping the rewards of that change.
Murphy enjoyed a solid season on the Challenge Tour this year but had missed out on graduating to full tour status. But he made the most of a second bite, brilliantly closing with a bogey-free round of 65, which featured six birdies, in completing the 108 holes qualifying marathon on 17-under-par 411 which gave him a share of 23rd place. The Corkman jumped up 19 places on the leaderboard thanks to his brilliant closing round.
“I had full faith in myself that I would be on the DP World Tour at some point but certainly didn’t think it would happen this quick. I’m really excited and proud of how I dealt with things and I’m looking forward to starting that journey,” said Murphy, a former Walker Cup player.
Both Hurley and Murphy now join teenager Tom McKibbin – who graduated off the Challenge Tour rankings – in earning full cards for the new European Tour season.