Gavin Moynihan secured another year on golf’s European Tour by the narrowest of margins over the weekend, as he knocked home an essential five-foot putt on the final green of Q-School to remain amongst the continent’s elite.
Moynihan, now of Mount Juliet, had a poor start to the year, having made his way onto the European tour through the Q-School tournament in 2017 before his form enjoyed a big upturn in fortunes.
He landed a top ten in Valderama a few weeks ago and made a series of cuts to build confidence for last week.
Moynihan’s exploits at Q-School in 2017 were also memorable: needing a birdie at the final hole – effectively meaning his level in the golfing world for the coming year hung on a single shot – Moynihan pulled it off with a 20 foot two-putt.
Despite needing only a par this time around to achieve the same result at the same stage, Moynihan told the Dublin Gazette he was still more nervous than last time around.
“I didn’t really think about it until I was walking to the 17th hole, and then I realised how close it was going to be,” Moynihan said.
“I’d dropped a couple of shots down the back nine, and I ended up with a five foot putt to make the cut.
“There’s a big difference between the Challenger tour and the European tour, in terms of the quality of the venues, the competition, and how the tour is to play on, as well as the money. It was a big shot.”
Moynihan’s par at that last hole ensured he finished among 26 players who were handed their European cards in the six-round Q-School event in Lumine Golf Club, Tarragona, Spain.
Given Q-School is played over six rounds, for Moynihan to make the cut so narrowly two years in a row is a real rarity in one of the most cut-throat events.
The former Malahide CS player had faced an additional challenge, too, in damaging his back the day before the tournament got underway.
“I could hardly walk after it happened on the practise round,” he recalled.
“The first day, I was really chipping and putting my way round after I got some good physio. Fortunately, it went alright. It focused me, if anything. I wasn’t sure I was going to play right up until almost the tee time.”
Plans for 2019 are on hold, though, as Moynihan has three tournaments to squeeze in ahead of Christmas as well as some rehab work. He’s learnt from his early season slump.
“Obviously this is great, as it was the main goal right now,” he said.
“I’ve learnt not to worry quite so much in the second half of the year.
“I had been getting a bit down when it wasn’t going right. I’ve made a lot of progress on my state of mind.”