Walton wins back tour card at 'last attempt'

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The Independent Online

Five years after falling off the European Tour and nine years after being a Ryder Cup match-winner, Philip Walton finally won back his tour card yesterday.

Five years after falling off the European Tour and nine years after being a Ryder Cup match-winner, Philip Walton finally won back his tour card yesterday.

Despite failure at the Tour's qualifying school every year since he lost his card in 1999, the 42-year-old Irishman decided on one last attempt and came through the six-round ordeal with three strokes to spare in San Roque, Spain.

Walton was Europe's hero at Oak Hill in 1995, beating Jay Haas on the final green in the deciding match. "This is worse than that - the stress is unreal," he said after a closing 71 gave him a four-over-par total of 436 and made him joint 15th of the 39 players who earned cards for next season.

"The Ryder Cup is a different stress. That was team stress, but this is a bloody marathon and I am a sprinter. This was going to be my last attempt. I would have given up golf."

Peter Gustafsson, of Sweden, won the school with a nine-under aggregate, three ahead of England's Simon Wakefield.

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