The former Ryder Cup player Steve Richardson was eliminated from the European tour qualifying event here yesterday as he failed to make the cut.
The 36-year-old from Hampshire, who played for Europe in the 1991 Ryder Cup and was second to Seve Ballesteros on the Order of Merit that year with winnings of over £500,000, had his second 76 of the gruelling event. It left him in last place of the 168-strong field on nine over par – and only the top 75 qualify for the final 36 holes after today's fourth round.
Richardson, making his fifth successive appearance at the school after losing his tour card in 1998, was 26 strokes behind the leader Philip Archer. The 30-year-old, playing for the ninth time and with only one previous success, added a 68 to his earlier rounds of 67 and 63 – despite losing a ball up a tree and running up a double bogey seven on the long 18th.
"It was a good seven in the end," he said. "The fourth shot was in the trees as well."
Archer, who is 17 under par, is one shot ahead of Spain's Eduardo de la Riva. Two behind in third place is Luton's Phil Golding on his record 16th trip to the school.
While Richardson has no hope now of qualifying, Philip Walton and Paul Broadhurst, the other two former Ryder Cup players, are still in with a chance. After rounds of 71 and 74 respectively here, Walton was five under par and Broadhurst four under.
Alongside Walton is last year's British amateur champion Michael Hoey who has made a fine recovery after being seven over par after seven holes on Friday following a quadruple bogey eight at the first. Hoey has since had scores of 65 and 68 at Emporda, the other course being used.
* Colin Montgomerie fought back from two shots down to win his first Asian Tour title with a two-shot win over Thongchai Jaidee in the TCL Classic in Dongguan, China, yesterday. The Scot started the final round two behind, but claimed the victory by shooting a bogey-free five-under-par 67. His Thai opponent, the Asian PGA Tour No 1, shot a 71.