Justin cracks the nut

With his earnings from a share of sixth at the Allianz Open de Lyon this weekend, Justin Walters broke into the top 20 on the European Challenge Tour. Now his path to the season final is very clear.

The 31-year-old, who celebrates his birthday in a fortnight, shot an impressive 66 on Sunday to reach 10-under for the tournament. He eventually went home with a cheque for € 5,760, which secured him the 20th spot in earnings this season.

It also moved him within the top 30 in the World Ranking, a statistic which underlines his consistency throughout the year.

Chris Doak and Tim Sluiter battled out victory in a sudden-death playoff, which the former went on to win. For Walters it was a matter of finding the form that’s earned him four top-10s on the Challenge Tour this year.

The most notable of these performances came at the Karnten Golf Open presented by Mazda, where a final-round 63 revealed just how much golfing class Walters possesses.

Of late he’s been hovering just outside significant earnings. This is not due to bad results, but rather to the developmental nature of the Challenge Tour. Prize funds do not extend far enough for top-25 finishes to reward players well enough. Walters bagged just € 2,860 for his tied-18th finish at the Rolex Trophy and € 1,462 for his share of 24th at the Finnish Challenge.

Those kind of cheques hardly stand up to the large prizes for top-10 results. Therein lies the solution – Walters must put another top finish on his resume ahead of the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, which begins on the 24th of October. His latest result has paved his path to the season finale. Top 10s are a must, and Walters looks like he’s got more in the tank. If he keeps going, he’ll roll right into a full European Tour card.

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