Tour School pain in Spain for Norfolk duo Luke Johnson and Ian Ellis
10:16 14 November 2014
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The two Norfolk golfers involved in the second stage of European Tour School this week both played solidly – but it was not enough to take them through to the final qualifying competition.
Young amateur Luke Johnson from King’s Lynn and experienced professional Ian Ellis, representing Great Yarmouth and Caister, travelled to Spain in high spirits after excellent seasons.
But they always knew the standard of oppostion would make it tough to progress and so it proved, with both players well adrift after four rounds at their respective venues.
Johnson, who like Ellis booked his trip to Spain via the opening qualifying event at Frilford Heath in Oxfordshire, was playing catch-up at the Lumine Golf Resort from the moment he posted a disappointing four over par 75 in his opening round.
He fought back well on day two, with four successive birdies between the 10th and 13th helping him an excellent 68 that took him back to just one over for the tournament. But he needed to go low again in the third round to make up ground on those above him and a one-under 70 wasn’t low enough, leaving him with a mountain to climb on Monday.
Johnson went on to post a second 68 in three days, with an eagle two at a par four the highlight, but a three under finish overall left him six shots adrift of the qualifying mark.
The young amateur has the consolation of still being a member of the England Elite squad and will now be hoping to build on a solid 2014 campaign that saw him win a couple of big national events. The Walker Cup, which is being staged next September at Royal Lytham and St Annes, will be another big target for the 22-year-old
Over at the Panoramica Golf Resort Ellis did little wrong – but his steady golf, always hovering around the par mark, saw him occupying the lower reaches of the leaderboard from the first day.
He opened with a 72 and had to settle for a 71 in the second round after a run a four straight birdies from the second to the fifth had briefly taken him to four under for the tournament. Sadly he played the remainder of the round in three over and scores of 72 and 73 on the final two days left him level par for the event, 13 shy of the mark, with just three players in the field behind him.
Ellis will be now be re-focussing his attention on the Titleist PGA Play-Offs at Turkey’s Antalya Golf Club from November 29 to December 1. The Norfolk player, who qualified via the East Region Order of Merit, will be competing against professionals from around the country for another crack at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW Championship at Wentworth.
He was successful last year and in May came within a shot of making the cut in a tournament that was eventually won by World No. 1 Rory McIlroy.