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Sunday, 22 October 2017
Daniel Brooks  (Getty Images)
Daniel Brooks (Getty Images)

Daniel Brooks, Jamie Donaldson, Wade Ormsby, Ashley Chesters and Ricardo Gouveia all kept hold of their European Tour playing privileges after a dramatic week at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The Spanish showdown was the final full-field event of the 2017 season with points available to make it into the top 101 in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex or the top ten in the Access List.

The pressure was high and the stakes even higher at one of the toughest courses on the European Tour and here, we take a look at how things unfolded at Real Club Valderrama for five men who started the week on the outside looking in.

Daniel Brooks (third, -7, moved from 123rd to 97th in the Race to Dubai)

The Englishman began the week needing to finish eighth or better to have a chance of keeping his card via the Access List but he did far better than that. A birdie on the second had Brooks in a tie for the lead on Sunday afternoon and while Sergio Garcia and Joost Luiten pulled away from him, he produced some gutsy golf down the stretch - highlighted by a sensational birdie on the 13th - on his way to a closing 71.

"It was good. Sunday at Valderrama playing with Sergio in his home event and him winning, it's pretty good. I had a good day out there, at the end of the day I kept my card which was nice and that was the goal at the beginning of the week. I didn't think about it at the start of the week at all, I'd just go out there and play but, as the days went on, I'm in here now and I need to finish it off and luckily I did." 

Jamie Donaldson (fourth, -5, moved from 118th to 99th on the Race to Dubai)

The 2014 Ryder Cup star had the safety net of being in the top 40 on the Career Money List but with players now only able to use that exemption for one season, he was determined to have a good week. Rounds of 67 and 68 on Friday and Saturday put him in contention and a closing 71 handed him fourth place. A share of fourth would have seen him finish 102nd but a Scott Jamieson double-bogey on the 16th helped him over the line.

"I played nicely, wasn't quite the ball-striking of yesterday but still pretty good. Lots of chances, holed some good putts out there and some great up-and-downs coming down the last few holes. You know what you've got to do, you've got to finish a certain position to guarantee things so you've always got that in the back of your mind but you've just got to play the golf course as you planned to play it.I had a bit of a cushion knowing that I didn't need, possibly, to have an exemption but, even so, you don't want to use it really."

Wade Ormsby (fifth, -4, moved from 106th to 82nd in the Race to Dubai)

The Australian had the safety of being sixth on the Access List to fall back on but ended up jumping 24 places on the Race to Dubai. A round of 67 on Moving Day put him in contention and he held his nerve down the stretch to win his biggest prize of the season at just the right time.

"I played good, played solid all day. Didn't hole as many putts as I would have liked but when you've got big pressure on you and you're hitting that many quality golf shots it takes a lot of pressure off. I'm very happy. Once you get out there you feel like you've got a bit more control of what you're doing. I warmed up great, I've been feeling pretty good, as the week's gone on I've been feeling better and better. I just needed to concentrate on doing what I was doing and that was playing solid golf. There was definitely nerves there but once you get through the turn and you're doing well, it's all out the window."

Ashley Chesters (T12th, -1, moved from 11th to eighth on Access List top ten)

The Qualifying School graduate was 110th on the Race to Dubai coming into this week and was another player to perfectly time his form. The Englishman went 69-68 over the weekend and while his position in the Rankings did not change, he moved up on the Access LIst.

"I'm so glad it's over. So glad it's over with a good score. I couldn't have asked for much more from this year, really. From May onwards I've played pretty good, can't complain too much. It was probably actually worse than being in with a chance of winning because it's just not the nicest of feelings and I'm very, very pleased it's over."

Ricardo Gouveia (T23rd, +1, moved from 12th to ninth on the Access List top ten)

The 2015 Road to Oman winner had an excellent debut campaign on the European Tour but has struggled to replicate that and entered the week 115th in the Race to Dubai. He looked comfortable after three days in Spain but was left with an anxious wait on Sunday after firing a closing 74.

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