Merrick Bremner (@Merrick_Bremner) was not even sure he’d play in the D+D Real Czech Masters last week, but he grabbed the chance when it was offered and finished in a share of third to ignite a charge for a European Tour card.
“It’s a good feeling to have moved from the beginning of the week, not knowing whether I’d be playing or not, and then finishing third is just amazing,” he said. “After Monday’s practice, I felt if I could just get a chance to play this event, I could really compete.”
His best-ever performance in a European Tour event as well as his highest-ever haul of Official World Golf Ranking points – the 8.40 he took in Prague surpassed the 7.00 he won in 2008 at the MTC Nambia PGA Championship for his share of second, and boosted him to inside the world’s top 300 – have made it a very real possibility that he will be able to campaign full-time on the European Tour next year.
“The goal of playing these tournaments in Europe was to move towards getting my European Tour card,” he said. “I’ve won some money in the tournaments in South Africa earlier this year. I need quite a bit more. Thankfully, I’m into the Dunhill Links. I hope I get a few more events after Italy and then just take it from there.”
His performance in Prague was such that he was able to take a little gamble on Saturday night ahead of this week’s Open D’Italia. “I got a bit ahead of myself last night – I booked my ticket to Italy!” he said. “I’m very happy to be into the event. I haven’t seen the course, but I will make the most of things there as well.”
Bremner made a charge at the summit of the leaderboard in Prague in his opening nine on Sunday, with three birdies in the opening six holes, and he turned for home in three-under 33 after another birdie and a bogey.
“I just couldn’t make a putt on the back nine until 18, but I hit good putts, hit them in the lines that I chose, and obviously they weren’t the right ones,” he said.
He bogeyed 17 to slip to 10-under for the tournament, in what would have ended up as fourth place, but he made a good birdie on 18 to share third with Soren Kjeldsen, three behind winner Jamie Donaldson.
“The 18th was pretty special after being out of position off the tee, and then managing to hit a brilliant second shot and making the putt – it was just awesome,” he said.
“I’m proud of myself for the way I hung in there and gave myself the opportunity. It was a really tough day today – the pins were tricky, the wind got up and went away, and then it rained, and then it blew again. So if you’d offered me 69 on the tee this morning, I’d have taken it and gone home,” he added.
He’s going to be in Europe a while longer now – instead of heading for home in South Africa.