New South Wales Professional David Merriman holed a 12 foot putt to win the European Seniors Tour qualifying School final last Thursday, defeating former European Tour player Emilio Rodriguez in a playoff at Pestana Golf Resort in Portugal.
Earlier, both players had closed with 69s to finish the tournament with a four round aggregate of nine under par 275, four shots clear of New Zealand amateur Jim Lapsley in third place.
“This is my first time over in Europe and I arrived quietly confident of doing well, though I didn’t really expect to win,” said Merriman. “This is by far the biggest win of my career and I am absolutely delighted.”
Scotland’s Steve Martin won a four-man play-off to secure the fourth-ranked card.
A birdie four saw the Dundee golfer edge out Frenchman Philippe Dugeny on the second extra hole after South African John Mashego and Australian Mike Ferguson had both dropped out following bogeys at the previous hole.
Ferguson went on to beat Mashego in another play-off to claim the final fully exempt spot.
An additional 11 players won conditional cards including American Terry Dill, who at the age of 67 completed six qualifying rounds in the space of eight days to secure membership to the 2007 European Seniors Tour.
“I used to play a lot with Sam Snead and he has been my inspiration. He was making cuts on the regular tour when he was 67 and my motto is never, never give up,” commented Dill, who despite his age still averages 290 yards of the tee.
The ten other conditional cards went, in order, to the following players: John Mashego of South Africa; Bill Malley of the United States; Tim Rastall of England; Torsten Giedeon of Germany; John Benda of the United States; Terry Dill; Neville Clarke of South Africa; Rigoberto Velasquez of Columbia; Donald Stirling of Austria; Ivan Renjifo of Columbia; and Michael G Wolseley of Northern Ireland.