Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez had to endure an anxious wait by the 18th green at the Challenge Tour Grand Final as the fate of the 15th and final European Tour card fell into the hands of his peer Sebastian Heisele.
After 25 events, the season, and the Spaniard’s position on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, all came down to one final putt on the 72nd hole. Heisele faced a six-footer for a par and a share of second place alongside Robin Sciot-Siegrist. A miss, and Sciot-Siegrist would take over the final graduation spot by virtue of a solo-second place finish.
Standing on a nearby buggy to gain a better vantage point of the drama unfolding, Garcia Rodriguez pounded the vehicle’s roof in elation when the German converted his par, as he quickly turned to embrace his family and friends to celebrate having officially achieved his dream of playing on the European Tour.
Despite being forced to watch the closing holes at Golf Club Alcanada to find out his destiny, it was the Spaniard’s standout golf throughout the 2019 season that earned him his place inside the all-important top 15.
While Garcia Rodriguez did not taste victory during the Challenge Tour’s 2019 season, he assembled a fine campaign which included runner-up finishes at the Challenge de España and the 57° Open de Portugal @ Morgado Golf Resort.
Across 19 appearances, the 30-year-old missed only three cuts and finished inside the top 20 on ten occasions. His 70.08 stroke average in 2019 was also the lowest of his career, highlighting the consistency of his play throughout the 2019 Challenge Tour season.
Promotion to the European Tour had been a long time coming for the Madrid native, who started 2019 without full Challenge Tour status but demonstrated the form that was to come with two Alps Tour victories early in the season.
The highest ranked Spaniard on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and the only Spanish player to graduate in 2019, Garcia Rodriguez will be looking to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Adri Arnaus, who also came through the Challenge Tour in 2018 before going on to enjoy an impressive rookie season on the European Tour.