Jamie McLeary: Tour cards now almost out of my hands

Jamie McLeary has found the going tough in Oman this week. Pic: Getty

Jamie McLeary has found the going tough in Oman this week. Pic: Getty

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Jamie McLeary headed into the final two rounds of the Challenge Tour Grand Final fearing he’d lost control of his own fate in Oman.

At the halfway stage in the season-ending event, the Bonnyrigg-based player had dropped from 11th on the second-tier circuit’s money-list to 15th on the projected standings.

It meant he couldn’t afford to slip any further over the final 36 holes if his good work earlier in the season was to be rewarded with a return to the European Tour next season.

“It’s almost out of my hands now,” groaned the 34-year-old after carding a second-round 71 at Almouj Golf in Muscat to sit joint-43rd in the 45-man field on five-over-par. “It depends on who finishes in the top four or five spots here, but I think I’m going to need to beat the guys around me – the likes of Andrew McArthur and Ryan Fox.”

Fellow Scot McArthur had slipped from tenth to 13th on the list at the halfway stage, while Kiwi Fox was out of the top 15 despite a second-round 67.

“The damage was done by my opening 78, but two sub-par rounds to finish might do the job,” added a hopeful McLeary.

“The way I’m playing I can honestly see me throwing in a six-under or something similar. I really feel I can do that, but I need to see one or two putts dropping early on in a round.”

Also on the trail of European Tour cards are East Lothian duo Neil Henderson and Mark Hillson, as well as Turnhouse-attached Duncan Stewart and Chris Doak, who is now based at Kingsfield.

They are among the hopefuls taking part in the second stage of the Qualifying School starting at four venues in Spain today.

A dozen-strong Scottish contingent also includes Paul Lawrie’s oldest son, Craig, as well as 2014 Amateur champion Bradley Neil.