Hutsby faces a new Challenge after missing out

Sam Hutsby held his nerve to make it on to the Challenge Tour     Picture: Mick Young
Sam Hutsby held his nerve to make it on to the Challenge Tour Picture: Mick Young
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Sam Hutsby is determined to regroup and come back stronger for next season on the Challenge Tour after missing out on retaining his European Tour card.

The 24-year-old former Lee-on-the-Solent man needed the round of his life in the final stage of Qualifying School yesterday to give himself any hope of making the top 25 to earn full playing privileges in the top tier of European golf.

But although he plotted his way to a steady final-round one-under-par 71, it was only good enough for a share of 44th place and a total of one over par – some six strokes behind the final qualifying berth.

While it was disappointing, it could have been an awful lot worse for Hutsby whose earnings have totalled just over 30,000 euros this season, which was not enough to even secure his Challenge Tour place next season.

However, after narrowly making the four-round cut at PGA Catalunya in Spain, Hutsby did at least secure himself a full season in the second tier of European golf.

Had he missed the cut, his lowly ranking from this season on both the European Tour and the Challenge Tour would have forced him on to the Europro Tour – effectively the third division of European golf, where the events do not carry anything like the same kind of prize money.

Hutsby does at least now have the opportunity to make plans for the 2013 campaign and could fare better in the long run with a consistent season as he attempts to rediscover his best.

While the former Walker Cup star was unavailable for comment, his father Bruce said: ‘We’ve got to look at it as a fresh start for Sam.

‘He’s had a tough season, but he’s now with a new management company and is looking ahead with a bit more optimism.

‘He told me that it was the most stressful day he has ever had playing golf as he was trying to make the cut at Q School.

‘He had to make a crucial putt on the 18th to make sure he was in for the final two rounds and, thankfully, he made it.

‘Had he missed out, he would have had no playing rights and would have been looking at a very depressing year ahead.

‘Now it’s a bit like dropping down from the Premier League to the Championship and gives him a good chance to regroup and come back stronger.

‘He will work hard on his game and hopefully get a bit of confidence back.’