European Tour place on cards for Peebles golfer Craig Howie
Peebles golfer Craig Howie said he was overcome with emotion after enduring a “horrible” day as he secured his European Tour card at the weekend in Mallorca.
The 27-year-old said the pressure he’d felt during the last round of the Rolex Challenge Tour grand final at T-Golf and Country Club on Sunday had turned him into a nervous wreck.
“I wanted the ground to swallow me up,” said Howie, managed by 1999 Open Championship winner Paul Lawrie and caddied by his younger brother Darren.
In 16th place at the start of the event and needing to finish in the top 20 to secure his step up to the top tour, Howie ended up in 19th spot after making a birdie at the last hole despite fearing his second shot had found water after hitting a cart path.
“I’m extremely pleased that’s over,” said the Borderer after signing for a six-over-par 76 to finish in a tie for 31st on three-over, 11 shots behind Marcus Helligkilde as the Dane landed a double-whammy by also topping the rankings.
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“That was horrible today. There’s probably not going to be much more pressure involved in a round of golf ever and it was tough going.
“Today was a big day and I didn’t handle it well at all. I struggled. I said to Darren on the 10th hole ‘I’m really nervous here and I need you to chat to me’.”
Howie, having started the day just outside the top 10, was already three-over before taking a double-bogey six at the 13th and poor shots that then led to bogeys at the 15th and 16th were down to sheer nerves, he said.
“It was just a battle,” he added. “I wasn’t playing great and it just seemed that anything that could go wrong did go wrong.
"My good shots weren’t as good as I thought they were and my bad shots were pretty terrible.
“I knew it was in my hands starting out, then halfway round I was probably relying on other people, which I’ve not had to do all season.
"It’s a pretty horrible feeling to have. You try not to think about it, but it really is all you can think about.”
The Stirling University graduate added: “It’s a massive learning day for me.
“I have learned so much about myself and what I need to do better, certainly mentally, as I was in a really bad place today.”