MOORTOWN’S Nick McCarthy showed considerable nerve and an abundance of skill to claim the victory in the Andalusian PGA EuroPro Tour Championship in Spain that he needed to earn a Challenge Tour card for 2019.
He will now set his sights even higher and look to take both confidence and form from winning at Desert Springs into the European Tour’s Qualifying School.
McCarthy, after rounds of 67 64, held a slender one-shot lead going into the closing round and alongside him in the final group was Woodhall Spa’s Dave Coupland, twice a winner already this season on the EuroPro Tour.
The Yorkshireman, who played in the Open at Royal Birkdale last year, knew that only victory would be enough for him to lay his hands on a Challenge Tour card and he triumphed by three shots with a closing 68.
He showed no signs of nerves as he accumulated five birdies in his opening seven holes to open a three-shot gap over the field.
Dropped shots on the ninth and 11th saw Steve Surry (Cumberwell Park Golf Club) draw level, but the Moortown man bounced back with an excellent birdie at the 12th before collecting his final birdie of the day on the 17th in spectacular fashion.
A stunning approach shot into a tricky pin at the back of the green gave him an easy birdie and a four-shot advantage heading down the 18th as Surry bogeyed to fall back alongside Coupland.
A dropped shot at the last merely shaved the margin of victory for McCarthy, who said: “To go out leading and to now be standing here with this trophy is the best feeling ever.
“I won’t lie, I felt the pressure, and there were a few things running through my head – whether I should attack it or not – but I just tried to play as I did in the last two rounds.
“After my approach into 17 I started to believe that it was going to be my day, especially as Steve had found a bunker.
“I relished being in a final group with two quality players beside me. It’s great to finally get my hands on a bit of silverware, I’ve had some chances over the years and not quite got the win so to be stood here with this trophy is great.”