Fleetwood earns Euro Tour card; Davies out

Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood can look forward to another season on the European Tour, but Rhys Davies’ career hangs in limbo.

Fleetwood kept his European Tour career alive with a great finish in the South African Open Championship. In 124th place on the European Tour money list heading into the tournament, the 21-year-old Englishman needed to finish 27th or better to finish inside the top 119 and keep his card for next year.

In then end, Fleetwood made it comfortable for himself. He finished T-6 to end the season 109th on the money list.

“It feels better than a win pretty much,” Fleetwood said. “It was probably the most stressful four days of my life I think, but I played great today. I think I hit 17 greens, which under any circumstances is pretty good.

“I'm absolutely made up, honestly. It's unbelievable. It was the difference between going back to the Challenge Tour or staying on the best tour in the world. It's a hard, grafting year on the Challenge Tour. As good as it is, it's very tough. The European Tour is a much better lifestyle I must say and it's just great to have a job next year."

Fleetwood topped the European Challenge Tour order of merit last year. However, rather than pushing on to success on the main tour, the Englishman has struggled to make the adjustment. That’s a surprise to many who watched Fleetwood in the amateur ranks.

The man from Southport, England finished runner-up in the 2009 British Amateur Championship at age 17. He made the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team that year before winning the 2010 English Amateur Championship. He began his pro career with high expectations but struggled to find a foothold on the main tour this year.

He’ll be hoping his second year see him make major strides forward.

Davies seemed destined to have a great European Tour career when he won the 2010 Hassan II Trophy in Morocco. He beat Louis Oosthuizen down the stretch to win that tournament. Yet while Oosthuizen has gone on to major championship glory with victory in the 2010 Open Championship and a playoff loss in this year’s Masters, Davies has struggled.

The Welshman entered the Hong Kong Open 119th on the money list, the final spot needed to keep a card for next year. However, he placed T-50 and slipped to 121st on the money list. He faces a trip to the European Tour Q-School at the end of this month to try to earn his right to play on next year’s European Tour.

Other notables missing out on a European Tour card include England’s Gary Boyd and Welshman Bradley Dredge. Boyd, a protégé of Ian Poulter, finished 122nd on the money list. Three-time Euro Tour winner Dredge ended the year 125th on the money list after missing the cut in Hong Kong. He is now considering his future.

“The Challenge Tour is not very appealing,” Dredge said. “It is not a total surprise to me since I have not been playing good golf for the last four years, but now I don’t know what the future holds for me. Do I retire and put the clubs to one side?”

At age 39, Dredge can’t be faulted for considering his future. As for Davies, the former East Tennessee player is only 27 years old. He still has the potential of a great career.

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