STOKE-BY-NAYLAND’S Jamie Moul is on course for a coveted European Tour card next season after his joint fifth-placed finish on his home tournament moved him into third place in the Challenge Tour rankings.
The 26-year-old had the strong home crowd at the English Challenge believing he could clinch the title after a stunning -8 on his first round thrust him to the top of the leaderboard where he stayed until the third day.
But with four shots to make up on the final day on Sunday, which he initially made up four birdies over the first five holes, the dream realistically ended after double bogeys on the sixth and eighth in a round ending on a 70 two under par.
Moul, who carded rounds of 64, 71, 75 and 72 over the four days, told the Suffolk Free Press: “It was a good week, considering I have not played at all that very well here before it was good to be there-or-thereabouts on the last day and give people something to shout about.
“It is a tough week playing here as the expectation is really high, but I have been playing nicely. I am little bit disappointed with a few little parts of the tournament but I was there-or-thereabouts so it was another solid week.”
Moul ended the tournament on the leaderboard but four shots off winner Benjamin Hebert, with the Frenchman shooting -12 to pick up the 25,600 euro prize with his second consecutive Challenge Tour title, following on from Switzerland.
Colchester-based Moul, who won his first event in Italy two weeks prior to his home tournament, before finishing second to Herbert in the Suisse Challenge, now just requires a top 20 finish in the rankings to get a European Tour Card, with a top 10 finish guaranteeing a place at every event.
“It is what you play for it has been a while coming so hopefully it will be this year,” said Moul, who was the World’s leading amateur in 2007, ahead of US Open winner Rory McIlroy.
The Stoke-by-Nayland touring professional also paid tribute to the club members and supporters who had turned out in numbers to walk round with him over the four rounds, including his parents, grandparents, sister Hannah and girlfriend.
“It was good to see a lot of people. All week the crowds have been really good so it is great to see,” he said.
Looking back on his performance the 17th hole quadruple bogey on Friday, when he was having a storming round, was where he pinpoints losing the trophy.
“17 round two I got a bit unlucky,” he said. “I finished in a divot and ended up going out of bounds making a quad and had three other doubles in the tournament so too many dropped shots to win really. It was lost on dropping too many shots on those holes rather than single bogeys.”
The greenkeepers at Stoke-by-Nayland, Kevin King and Campbell Murdoch, were lavished with praise at the prizegiving ceremony while the four days also saw schoolchildren, people with disabilities and novices enjoy free golf clinics given by the club’s head teaching professional Roly Hitchcock.