Bevan moves in on Europe
GOLF: Jon Bevan's year gets better and better, and he is still on course to achieve his aim of playing on the main European Tour in 2002. Now unattached after a spell attached to Fynn Valley, Bevan has reached the second qualifying stage after clearing the first hurdle at Five Lakes in Essex last week.
JON Bevan's year gets better and better, and he is still on course to achieve his aim of playing on the main European Tour in 2002.
Now unattached after a spell attached to Fynn Valley, Bevan has reached the second qualifying stage after clearing the first hurdle at Five Lakes in Essex last week.
Bevan had rounds of 71, 68, 71 and 68 – ten under par – for a four-round total of 278 and finished just two strokes behind the winner, Adam Crawford of Australia.
"I played solid all week," said Bevan. "I hit every green coming home in my final round and overall carded six birdies."
Conditions were none too easy with plenty of rain on the first two days while the wind on the final two days of competition.
The way Bevan, who won the East Region of Order of Merit this year, is playing, he must have every chance of going all the way and gaining his European Tour card.
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But he has to get through a second qualifying stage before he can begin to think about the final qualifier that is held at San Roque in Spain in November and played over six rounds.
But Bevan was Suffolk's only success as the rest of the players, who had qualified from the Suffolk Tour School series, fell by the wayside.
Also at Five Lakes were Alex Lucas and Paul Wilby (both Fynn Valley) and Haverhill's Dave Quinney who won the Suffolk series for the second year running.
Quinney did qualify for the final round, but a 77 left him way off the mark of trying to reach the second round. His first three rounds were 71, 74 and 75. Still attached to Haverhill, Quinney is now looking for a sponsor for next year.
"I didn't play very well," he confessed "and I am very disappointed that I did not do better. Now I will have to get Nick Duke to have a look at my game."
Duke is the new professional at the west Suffolk club following the death of Simon Mayfield in a car accident a few months ago.
Duke comes from Trevose is Cornwall and Quinney is having coaching from him after previously being with Gary Alliss, the son of Peter, the former Ryder Cup player and now BBC commentator.
Lucas described his golf as "the worst I have played this year" after rounds of 78, 75 and 79 that did not see him qualify for the final round.
Wilby, too, struggled and was out after his three rounds of 80, 75 and 78.
James Keely, the Woodbridge assistant, and Ipswich's Chris Bye also failed to make further progress. They were at Carden Park in Cheshire with Bye playing all five rounds, but needing 67 in his final round could only manage 72.
Keely didn't make the final qualifying round and said his game was "very poor".
So all eyes will be on Bevan to see if he can make it onto the European Tour. The form book suggests he can do it, but he faces very stiff competition if he is to succeed.
Already guaranteed a place in the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth next May for the second year running, Bevan wants to ideally be playing alongside the big boys week in, week out.
Suffolk badly needs someone playing regularly on the European Tour. It is some year since Robin Mann, now the director of golf at Waldringfield, was on it, and Bevan, even though he is currently unattached, could give the county a shot in the arm.
If he succeeds, Bevan might be the first of several Suffolk players who could be playing on the European Tour in the next few years.
There is a wealth of young talent around the county with players like Jamie Moul and Lawrence Dodd, to name but two, who could go all the way should they choose to turn professional.