Golf ace Ben Evans came agonisingly close to earning a place on the European Tour for next year.
The Staplecross-based professional finished the season 17th on the second tier European Challenge Tour Rankings, with the top 15 graduating to the top level circuit for 2015.
Evans finished 13th in the campaign-ending Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club at the weekend to move up one place in the rankings.
Afterwards he wrote on social network site Twitter: “Thank you to everybody that sent me words of encouragement this week. Means a lot. I’m pretty gutted to miss out by such a fine line. But this game is about fine lines. Very happy with ending the season the way I did. Looking forward to next season already.”
Evans got off to a tough start in the Grand Final - involving the top 45 on the Challenge Tour Rankings - with three bogeys in the first seven holes of his opening round, but recovered well with four birdies and just one bogey thereafter to card a creditable level par 72.
His second round 73 was a real mixed bag of one eagle, three birdies and six bogeys, but a third round 70 containing four birdies and two bogeys got him heading in the right direction.
Evans began Saturday’s final round with a birdie only to drop four shots in as many holes from the fourth. He made three birdies and didn’t drop a shot in the remaining 11 holes, however, to sign for a 72 and a one-under total of 287.
The 27-year-old briefly climbed into the top 15 of the rankings at the end of his round after runner-up Jerome Lando Casanova’s bogey at the penultimate hole, but the Frenchman’s birdie at the last knocked the Englishman back down to 17th.
Despite the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a place alongside some of the sport’s top players on the European Tour, it’s still been his best ever season on the Challenge Tour.
This was Evans’s fourth top 15 finish in his last seven tournaments, an excellent sequence of results which hauled him right up from outside the top 100 on the Challenge Tour Rankings and up to 473rd in the World Golf Rankings.
Evans, of Rye and Sedlescombe Golf Clubs, will have another chance to earn a European Tour card for next year at the Q-School Final Stage, an epic six-round shoot-out at PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain which will run from Saturday until next Thursday. The top 25 players plus ties will earn their playing rights for The 2015 Race to Dubai.