Sam Hutsby picked up his biggest pay cheque of the year after a battling performance at the Iberdrola Open in Mallorca.
The 22-year-old star from Lee-on-the-Solent has made a slow start to the new campaign – making just two cuts from his first six events after missing out on his full playing privileges by the narrowest of margins last term.
But while Northern Irishman Darren Clarke eventually overhauled long-time leader Chris Wood to pick up his 13th European Tour career title on the tricky Son Servera course, Hutsby rediscovered some of the old magic in tough conditions to finish in a tie for 14th place.
It was a gutsy effort from Hutsby, particularly as he only just made the halfway cut mark at four over par as the breezy conditions pushed the scoring upwards.
And perhaps more significantly, he had to fight back from adversity on more than one occasion to register his 15,000 euro pay day that will be a welcome boost to his confidence and pushed him up the field to 197th place in the Race to Dubai.
A double bogey seven on the par-five 10th ensured he carded a two-over-par 72 in the opening round.
And he posted the same score on round two, despite a quadruple bogey nine and a double bogey six at the par-four ninth in an otherwise brilliant round that saw the young talent make six birdies.
A fine four-under-par front-nine in the third round was undone by back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18 but his two-under round of 68 propelled him up to tied 32nd.
Most of the field struggled on the final day, with gusty winds playing havoc – particularly, leader Wood who saw his four-shot advantage disappear after a disastrous five-over par back nine.
But Hutsby dug deep to get his round to three-under par after 10 holes, only to hand shots back at the 11th, 15th and 18th for a level-par round of 70 – a score which only three players bettered in the final round.
That saw him climb up the leaderboard with a two-over par total – eight strokes behind Clarke’s six-under par winning score.
It was Hutsby’s biggest success in financial terms since October of last year when he pocketed more than 18,000 euros at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
But with the Madeira Islands Open next on his agenda this week, the talented youngster will have taken plenty of encouragement as he bids to regain his place among the European Tour elite.