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Crunch time looms on the European Tour

By: | Thu 23 Oct 2014 | Comments

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements 

Sir Alex Ferguson used to call it squeaky bum time, and a host of European Tour golfers will know precisely what the former Manchester United manager meant.

For the likes of Rory McIlroy, top place in the Race To Dubai and further riches are sewn up. But, for others, the future is uncertain. As the season reaches its climax, the thought of having to head off to Tour School will be occupying the minds of many - and filling them with dread.

One good week can change everything, of course, as Oliver Wilson discovered when he won the Alred Dunhill Links championship at St Andrews. He pocketed a huge cheque and secured a two-year exemption, meaning that he could change all his plans and look forward to the future.

The top 110 in the money list will keep their cards, and there are some big names languishing below the cut-off mark.

Hanging on by the skin of their teeth are Steve Webster (107th), Anthony Wall (108), Craig Lee (109) and Lee Slattery (110). There is a twist, however. Brendon De Jonge, of Zimbabwe, is in 66th place but he is an affiliate member and doesn't count, so all eyes will be on the man who finishes in 111th place and, at present, that man is Matthew Nixon, of England.

The IPS Handa Perth International is the last-chance saloon, and with €1.2million in prize money on offer there is plenty of scope for somebody to save themelves the agony of Tour School.

Paul Lawrie and Brett Rumford have both had dreadful seasons, but are exempt for 2015. Gareth Maybin, of Northern Ireland, needs to finsh no worse than seventh to survive, David Drysdale needs a top 20 finish and Alistair Forsyth must win if he is keep his card.

A couple of years ago, Tommy Fleetwood kept his card with a terrific performance at the end of the season - it was enough to turn his career around. Maybin is a former winner on tour, and will hope that he can do the same.

The likes of Slattery, Lee, Wall and Webster will believe that they will be safe if they make the cut. It sounds simple enough, but with the gut-wrenching pressure they will be experiencing, getting through to the weekend will be no mean feat.

We will let you know who keeps their card and who doesn't.

Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]

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