Darren Fichardt was the only South African to gain his European Tour card for the 2020 season. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – Darren Fichardt was the only South African to gain his European Tour card for the 2020 season at the Final Qualifying Stage Lumine tournament in Spain on Wednesday.

After six gruelling rounds, the 44-year-old ended on 13-under following scores of 71 72 68 71 64 69 to finish in a tie for 17th. 

With 156 players starting the tournament, it was always going to be difficult to come out with one of the lucrative top-25 cards on offer, and Fichardt made it by a single stroke.

The five-time European Tour winner Fichardt finished 130th on the 2019 season Order of Merit, meaning he lost his status on the tour. Fichardt’s last win on the European Tour came at the co-sanctioned Joburg Open in 2017 - and that win was his first in four years. 

The five-time European Tour winner Fichardt finished 130th on the 2019 season Order of Merit. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

While it would be a week to remember for Fichardt, it was a different story for the other 11 South Africans in the field. None more so than Wilco Nienaber, the 19-year-old who turned professional in July missed out on a Tour card by an agonising one shot. The long-hitting SA Amateur champion finished on 11-under with rounds of 69 73 70 65 71 69. 

Bryce Easton, Louis de Jager, Garrick Higgo, JC Ritchie, Daniel van Tonder, Neil Schietekat, Jacques Kruyswijk, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Garth Mulroy and Jake Roos all missed out. 

African News Agency (ANA)