Scots enter ‘Last Chance Saloon’ in fight for Tour cards

Scotland's Richie Ramsay. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Scotland's Richie Ramsay. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A posse of Scots are among the players fighting to save European Tour cards in this week’s Andalucia Valdarrama Masters, the final regular event in a long season.

Due to six players who only hold affiliate memberships coming off the final list, the top 116 at the conclusion of an event being hosted by Sergio Garcia will hang on to full playing privileges for next year.

Sitting 107th and 108th respectively, Scott Jamieson and David Drysdale are unlikely to drop out of the safety zone, with the former’s absence from this event suggesting he believes that to be the case.

It’s a massive week, however, for Richie Ramsay (124th), Connor Syme (126th) and Marc Warren (144th) as they try and save themselves in the circuit’s ‘Last Chance Saloon’, thus avoiding a visit to the Qualifying School next month.

Ramsay, a three-time Tour winner, needs to finish as high as sixth on the Costa del Sol to be guaranteed his card for the 11th season in a row, having finished 31st in the Race to Dubai just last season.

To put that into perspective, the Aberdonian has to equal his best performance of the current campaign, which came in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic back in February.

Syme, who was riding high in his rookie season when finishing second in the Shot Clock Masters in Austria in June but has since gone off the boil, needs something similar while it’s an even taller order for Warren.

Another three-time winner, he is likely to need a top-three finish and will at least be encouraged by tying for fifth in the Spanish Open earlier in the year.

Others fighting for survival include 2013 BMW PGA champion Matteo Manassero and Jamie Donaldson, the man who clinched Europe’s victory in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Manassero sits 118th while Donaldson is down in 175th.

For Stephen Gallacher, this week’s event is a chance to seal his place in the opening Final Series event in Turkey in a fortnight.