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Mike Donald  (Getty Images)
Mike Donald (Getty Images)

Former US Open runner-up Mike Donald led the 62 qualifiers to progress from the European Senior Tour Qualifying School First Stage at Pestana Golf Resort on Portugal’s Algarve. 

American Donald, who lost in a play-off to Hale Irwin at the 1990 US Open Championship at Medinah, carded a final round 68 to finish on five under par 135 at Silves, two strokes clear of Canadian Rick Gibson, Japan’s Archie Takamatsu and Scotland’s David James.

They were among 22 players from Silves to qualify for next week’s Final Stage, which will be held at Pestana’s Vale da Pinta course.

Joining them will be 20 players from First Stage at Pestana’s Gramacho course, where another American, Dick Mast, led the way.

Overnight leader Mast closed with a 73 for a three under par total of 141, one stroke clear of Englishman Matt Briggs. Americans Zeke Martinez, and Mitch Adcock and Frenchman Philippe Dugeny were a shot further back.

Finally, 20 players also sealed their place at Final Stage at Vila Sol, where Engishman Paul Wesselingh signed for a 72 to finish on one over par 145. He was two shots clear of Australian Tim Elliott and Spaniard José Buendia.

Northern Ireland’s Jimmy Heggarty, the 2008 Senior Tour Qualifying School winner, was among the qualifiers, finishing on nine over par 153 in a share of 12th place.
 
The 62 qualifiers will join 13 exempt players at Final Stage next week where the top six players will earn full Senior Tour cards for the 2012 season and those finishing seventh to 14th will secure conditional playing rights.

 

 

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