MOTHERWELL golfer Ross Kellett survived a nerve-janglng finale to achieve his season’s ambition of a top five finish in the Alps Tour Order of Merit.
The 24-year-old was far from his best in the Masters 13 Allianz event near Marseilles at the weekend, but did enough to bring a memorable first year as a professional to a successful end.
By finishing in the top five Kellett has secured a place on next season’s European Challenge Tour, just one tier below the full European PGA Tour.
His form earlier in the season, including a first pro win in Italy in July, had him riding high in the Order of Merit all summer, but that top five place was by no means certain as he struggled in France, finishing joint 47th.
Kellett admitted: “That last round was very tense and it’s the most pressure I’ve ever felt in my career.
“I struggled all week, but in the end I’ve done enough and I’m pleased to finish fifth out of around 200 on the Alps Tour.
“There were four of us chasing the last three Challenge Tour places. With only about 1,000 euros separating us and double prizemoney at Marseilles, the situation fluctuated throughout.
“I didn’t know until I’d finished my last round and seen the scoreboard that I was OK.”
Kellett thanked sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management and Taylor Made/Adidas Golf for their support during the season as he looked forward to moving up a level after just one year as a pro.
He said: “I’m delighted to get a Challenge Tour card. Everything is different - more travel with events further afield, better courses, better players and more prizemoney.”
Kellett’s season is not quite over as he is in Spain this week for the European Tour qualifying school. A good showing would earn him more automatic entries to Challenge Tour events, but he said: “Anything I get from this will be a bonus.”