Andrew Marshall relieved to secure European Tour card

DEREHAM golfer Andrew Marshall admits he was left scrapping for his professional life after a nightmare final round at the European Tour's qualifying school in Catalunya threatened to KO his dream.

The 38-year-old was battling to regain his card for the Race to Dubai and had started the day in 17th place on 10 under, needing a top 30 finish to guarantee his place among Europe's elite golfers next year. His final round did not start well as Marshall dropped shots at the second, third and fifth holes.

'I played well for five rounds and then I had an absolute shocker,' said Marshall, who had scored 68, 71, 68, 69 and 70 over the previous five days. 'As the days went by the atmosphere changed. Earlier in the tournament everyone was chatting on the range and there was some camaraderie going on, but on the morning of the final round it was like a funeral, it was horrible.

'I knew going into the final round that I'd have to finish on seven, eight or nine under to be in the top 30. I felt the pressure, there's no question, and to make the start I did certainly didn't help to settle my nerves.'

Having dropped three shots, Marshall knew he could ill-afford any more mistakes on the back nine but worse was to come with a bogey on the 10th: 'I was playing for my professional life, I kept thinking to myself to calm it down, stay focused and not to throw it all away having come so far,' he added.

A birdie at the 12th brought Marshall back to seven under and after five more pars, he was left with a nervy 15ft putt on the final hole to secure his tour card: 'It was downhill and left to right which was my favourite shape,' said Marshall. 'Thankfully it went in and the sense of relief was immense.

'Now that I'm back on the Tour I have to make sure that I stay there. I'm not setting myself any other goal than that. I'm confident that I can compete.'