Desert Springs Resort, Europe’s only international award-winning luxury family resort and championship desert golf course in the Almeria region of Andalucía, south-east Spain, was host to this year’s season-ending Andalusian PGA EuroPro Tour Championshipbetween Wednesday 24th – Friday 26th October.
Nick McCarthy carded rounds of 67, 64, and 68 in a must-win finale to be crowned champion.
McCarthy started the week 24th in the Order of Merit, needing nothing less than a win if he was to play his 2019 season on the Challenge Tour.
A second-round tournament low of 64 put him in the driving seat but still left him with plenty of work to do and with high-class golfers just a few shots behind, he embarked on what he anticipated to be a gruelling final round. However, McCarthy showed no signs of nerves as he flew out of the tracks, picking up five birdies in his opening seven holes to open a three-shot cushion over the field.
But, the birdie train de-railed at the ninth, as McCarthy dropped shots on the 9th and 11thwhilst Surry drew level for the first time in the round. McCarthy remained un-phased and bounced back with an excellent birdie at the 12th, before collecting his final birdie of the day on the 17th. A stunning approach shot into a tricky pin, positioned at the back of the green, gave him an easy birdie and a four-shot cushion heading down the 18thas Surry could only manage a bogey to fall back to -14 with the chasing Coupland.
And with the ball in McCarthy’s court, barring complete disaster on the last his mission was achieved, a three-putt bogey was enough to give him a three-shot win, and more importantly the coveted Challenge Tour card he was chasing.
“To go out leading, and to now be standing here with this trophy is the best feeling ever.” Said McCarthy.
“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.”
Nick McCarthy plays his approach shot on Hole 15 on the Indiana Course at Desert Springs Golf Club
“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 thought I would at least be heading down the last with a three-shot lead. I relished being in a final group with two quality players beside me, I felt we pushed each other along today as there were a lot of birdies out there. 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.”
Nick McCarthy on Hole 17 on the Indiana Course at Desert Springs Golf Club
Joining McCarthy and Coupland as graduates onto the Challenge Tour next season include Boston’s Billy Spooner, a two-time winner this season; Joe Dean who was the highest ranked player (5th) to not win this season, and Mark Young who came tantalisingly close to the £250,000 four-win bonus on offer this season but will still take three wins under his belt as he bids to earn a European Tour card through Q School.
Highlights of the Andalusian PGA EuroPro Tour Championship will air on Tuesday, November 6thon Sky Sports Golf.