An American golfer has been reduced to tears after his dream of winning a ticket to the PGA Tour was shattered in the cruellest of circumstances.
Kevin Dougherty started the week in 36th place on the Web.com Tour money list – needing to break into the top 25 to book his spot on golf’s most lucrative tour.
The American opened with rounds of 67-67-69 to put himself in the top five on the leaderboard entering the final round of the The Web.com Tour’s final regular-season event, the WinCo Foods Portland Open.
A 27-year-old former Oklahoma State golfer, Dougherty played solid if not spectacular golf in the final round, sitting at even par for the round through 16 holes.
A birdie on the par-4 17th, however, set up the intriguing situation of needing one more birdie on the 18th to move to No. 25 on the money list.
Dougherty’s task was made even tougher when his third shot checked up just short of the green, leaving him with a 25-foot chip rather than a putt for his birdie.
The American took the flagstick out of the hole in the hopes he could usher the ball straight into the cup.
Incredibly, Dougherty came within an excruciating centimetre or two of achieving the career-changing birdie – only to watch in agony as his ball stopped cruelly on the edge of the cup.
Dougherty immediately felt the gravity of the moment sink in, tapping in the follow-up putt before breaking down in tears as his caddie put a consoling arm around him.
“I mean it was pretty dead centre, I thought,” a devastated Dougherty said afterwards.
“I thought it might end up a hair short. But it just missed a hair left.”
Dougherty’s miss allowed Hank Lebioda to settle for the 25th and final PGA Tour card.
Despite the obvious disappointment, Dougherty handled the heartbreak in admirable fashion.
“I just have to keep the momentum going,” Dougherty said.
“Same mindset, same routine, we’ll get it done.”
If there’s any solace for Dougherty it should come from the story of Kevin Mitchell, who a year ago just missed out on a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour season finale by one stroke on the 18th hole.
Mitchell then proceeded to win the first of the Web.com Tour’s four Final series tournaments, locking up his PGA Tour card after all.
With Yahoo Sports US