A year's hard work lost in the space of just three hours – Lloyd
CHRIS Lloyd's nine-month quest to win a European Tour card faltered over the final few holes of the Challenge Tour season at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in Italy.
From holding sixth position, that would have comfortably earned one of the 21 Tour places available, he slumped to 32nd on the order of merit.
He said: "Those last three hours of a long season proved so costly. It seems I've battled all through the year and have achieved nothing."
Yet he was in third place after two rounds of 65 and 66 and even a level par 71 when the putts failed to drop caused no great damage. "I didn't do much wrong that day," he said.
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He started the last day of the season in joint sixth place and made a dream start when he sunk a long birdie putt at the first hole of to progress to 12-under-par. But then his world imploded.
The Kendleshire member, 20, said: "A little storm hit the course and the wind blew up which didn't help. I bogeyed eight without hitting a bad shot, I was in the rough at nine and took a penalty drop before making a double and then on the par five 11th I had 220 yards to go from my drive but took seven.
"By that point, having dropped five shots, it was get me home time."
He signed for 76, one of his highest scores of a season that promised so much after his runners-up finish in the second event in Columbia, and Tweeted: "Trying to eradicate the phrase 'what if' from my brain this week."
He has even finished lower in the rankings than last year, winning £45,000 from 19 events. A wrist injury that kept him out for a while did not help.
"That doesn't tell the whole story for I have played lovely golf a lot of the time," he said. "It's been a bitter pill to swallow. It was frustrating to miss out again after last year as I see it as a failure. Although it hasn't worked out for me I know I am capable of getting there in the end and hope that it will be a case of third time lucky when I go to Tour School."
By finishing inside the top 45 on the Challenge Tour he is exempt from attending the second stage of qualifying.
His task now is to finish among the leading group in the six-round final at the PGA Catalunya course near Girona from November 24-29.