Justin’s challenge earns him Euro Tour card

It was the biggest cheque in his 21 tournaments on the Challenge Tour this year, but Justin Walters was happier about the eight spots he jumped on the rankings than the €13,805.00.

His share of fifth meant he moved from 23rd on the Challenge Tour Rankings to 15th and became eligible for one of 20 cards on the 2013 European Tour available to players from the Challenge Tour.

So he comes home to South Africa, jumps straight into the ISPS Handa South African Match Play Championship at Zwartkops Country Club and will be delighted in the security of not having to go through the trial by Qualifying School in order to campaign in Europe next year.

He earned his spot at Europe’s main table with his performance in the Challenge Tour’s season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in Italy: It was a tournament which started with an unremarkable 71, which left him perilously low down in the 45-man field, but he rectified matters with rounds of 67-65-67 to climb the leaderboard and secure his card.

It was the climax of a season which had looked as if it might peter out in disappointment in the two tournaments preceding the Grand Final – a missed cut in the D+D Real Czech Challenge Open and a lowly share of 56th in the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Challenge which earned him just €483.

But his game turned, and his closing out in the Grand Final has boosted his confidence for the big summer tournaments on the Sunshine Tour.

His eligibility on his home tour means he will get into the European Tour’s 2013 Race To Dubai openers in South Africa – the Nelson Mandela Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December – and solid home performances can set him up for a lengthy campaign in Europe.

To campaign on the Challenge Tour in 2012 was a decision that could have led to heartache, but, for Walters, it was vindicated in his 21st tournament of the season.

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