Parry graduates with honours to earn coveted Tour card for 2013

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The European Tour’s qualifying school is widely regarded as one of the most exacting tests a golfer can endure. John Parry passed that test over the past six days with flying colours.

The 26-year-old from Harrogate won the 108-hole event by four shots to comfortably secure a place on the European Tour and make a mockery of a tournament that has proved the breaking of lesser individuals.

What he has accomplished over the past six days at PGA Catalunya in Spain could quite easily be the making of Parry.

His victory earns him category 11b status on the elite circuit, but more than that it confirms to him what he has long believed, that he belongs among the big boys.

A little over two years ago he marked his maiden campaign on Tour with a win at the Vivendi Cup in Paris.

But 14 months later he lost his playing rights after finishing 126th on the money list, 11 places outside the position he needed to be in to retain his card.

Successive opening rounds of 71 last weekend proved solid, before he exploded to the top of the leaderboard with a 67 64 and a 66.

He took a four-shot lead into yesterday’s final round, and four birdies and two bogeys saw him sign for a 70.

“I’m delighted,” said Parry.

“I knew I had my card sewn up before (yesterday) started, but I was going for the win and I’m happy to have got the job done. It was nice to do it with a bit of a cushion going into the last few holes.

“I played pretty poorly for the first seven holes. I was playing too negatively, and I think the bogey on the seventh gave me a bit of a kick to start playing how I was in the previous rounds. After that it was plain sailing. I’ve been working hard on all areas of my game, but on my putting in particular, so it is nice that it is paying off.

“I’ll be playing the next couple of weeks in South Africa, so there won’t be much time to reflect on this, but after Christmas it looks like I’ll have a good few weeks off so my break can come then.”

Nicolas Colsaerts outshone many of his Ryder Cup team-mates to hold a share of the lead after the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

The Belgian carded a two-under-par 70 to sit level with Bill Haas at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City. Paul Lawrie, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood, the two-time defending champion, were tied for third on one under, with Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari a shot further back.