European Tour School setback for Sheringham golfer
Sheringham golfer Will Harrold has experienced the highs and lows of life on the professional circuit in recent weeks.
Having won almost �12,000 in a tournament in the Middle East Harrold headed to the second stage of European Tour Qualifying School in Spain in excellent heart, only to be brought down to earth with a painful bump.
Needing to finish in the top 17 at his venue to make it through to the final stage – and earn the chance of a crack at the big time – the Norfolk player opened up with a disappointing round of 78 and never recovered, finishing eight shots adrift of the qualifying mark.
Harrold produced sosme excellent golf in his final three rounds, playing 54 holes in three under par with efforts of 71, 70 and 69 – but by then the damage had been done and his four over par total fell well short of what was required.
It was all a far cry from events in the United Arab Emirates a few weeks earlier when Harrold put a low-key first year on the EuroPro Tour behind him by winning his first professional tournament – and booking himself a place in next year's Dubai Desert Classic.
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The 24-year-old birdied the closing hole to see off a determined challenge from three-time European Tour winner Stephen Dodd to win the MENA Tour Championship at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club.
The two overnight joint leaders went head to head until the penultimate 53rd hole, and just when the prospect of a play-off loomed, the former Gresham's School pupil, held his nerve to sink a tricky 20-foot birdie putt, sealing a well-deserved victory – his first since turning professional in February.
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'This win will always be special since it's my first as a professional,' said Harrold.
'Playing in Omega Dubai Desert Classic will be just awesome. I think every player here wanted to play there. Getting a Classic spot, is easily the best thing that happened to me.'
Harrold closed with a 67 to end at on an impressive 17-under, one ahead of Dodd and two off Scotland's Duncan Stewart, who set a new course record with a final round 63.
Harrold and Dodd were inseparable throughout the tournament with them both shooting matching rounds of seven-under-par 64 to share what was then the course record on the opening day of the tournament on Monday.
Harrold, who went bogey free on the opening day, felt staying cool on the course did the trick for him.
'The course is playable. If you can keep the ball in play, you can come out with a good score,' said Harrold, who made a blazing start to his round, reeling off three birdies in a row.
'It was a very good day. Once I got going I didn't miss many shots.
I hit my irons solid and when I hit them close I made the putt.'
Harrold played five of the six tournaments in the series in the Middle East on the emerging MENA Tour, finishing in third place on the order of merit having banked $20,455 (�12,727).