Ace Evans shines at St Andrews
Golf star Ben Evans achieved one of his best results on the European Tour at the weekend.
The Staplecross-based professional came tied 19th in a high class field at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
Big names in the line-up included Stewart Cink, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington, the final five of whom missed the cut.
Playing on a tournament invite, Evans finished the prestigious 72-hole pro-am event in a 12-under-par total of 276 and was 10-under for the final two rounds.
Unusual in its format, the championship is played over three courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. Every player plays each course once over the first three rounds before the top 60 and ties play the final round at St Andrews.
Evans, who was partnered in the team event by Keane singer Tom Chaplin, started out with a two-under-par 70 at St Andrews on Thursday, carding three birdies and a solitary bogey on the infamous ‘Road Hole’ 17th.
He followed that with a level par 72 at the difficult Carnoustie on Friday, mixing two birdies with two bogeys, the last of which was on the tough 18th hole - made famous by Jean Van de Velde paddling around in the Barry Burn at the 1999 Open.
Evans made a flying start at the easier Kingsbarns on Saturday. Starting at the 10th, he birdied five of the first eight holes, including three in a row from the 11th, before double bogeying the 18th.
He recovered, though, with four birdies on his second nine, including three in his final four holes, for a seven-under-par 65 to move up to nine-under in total.
Evans again started superbly in round four on Sunday. Three birdies in the first 10 holes and an eagle at the par five fifth moved him into the top 10 before back-to-back bogeys at the 11th and 12th meant he had to settle for a three-under-par 69.
His third top 20 finish in his last five tournaments has moved Evans up to 114th in the season-long Race to Dubai standings.
The top 110 at the end of the season earn ‘European Tour cards’ for next year and Evans is just over 10,000 Euros outside that mark at present.
The remaining three events of the regular season all have strong fields, however, and Evans’ playing category is currently outside the entry cut-off in each of them.
Evans has category 16 membership of the European Tour this year having finished 17th in the second tier European Challenge Tour rankings in 2014.
A final position of 111th-125th on this year’s Race to Dubai standings would put him in the same category for next year, although a top 25 place at the season-ending European Tour Qualifying School would nudge him up to category 15.
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