Scottish golfer Richie Ramsay says it is a “huge weight off my shoulders” after retaining his European Tour card for next season.
The Aberdonian was tied 11th on two under at the Valderrama Masters in Spain, moving him up nine places into Europe’s top 116, and to safety.
Ramsay needed to sink a three-foot putt on the final hole to clinch his card as he finished with a three-under-par 68.
“Huge pressure, maybe the most I’ve ever felt on a golf course,” he said.
“When your job is on the line with five holes left you’ve got to come to the party and luckily I managed to do that.
“To play well under big pressure is the most rewarding win for me, whether it’s for your card or for a trophy, when you can do that, under that pressure, proves everything you do during the whole year is worth it.”
Ramsay, 35, who has three career titles on the European Tour, was ranked 124th before the event, which was reduced to 54 holes and took five days to complete after being affected by bad weather.
“I believe I’ve got another win in the tank and will come out in 2019 chasing win number four,” he told BBC Scotland. “It really makes a difference to your game, if you are in a good place off the course you are generally in a good place on it.”
While positivity paid off for Ramsay, there was to be no fairytale for Glasgow’s Marc Warren, who required a top-three finish to retain his card. He carded two double bogeys in a final round of 73 to also finish in a tie for 11th place, ending the season ranked 132nd overall.
After clinching the final qualifying place for the 2018 season, Warren will now hope to qualify through the Tour School next month in Spain, where he will compete with another 155 players for the remaining 25 places available for 2019.
Joining him will be Fife-based Connor Syme and Perthshire’s Bradley Neil, who both finished outside the ranking required.
“There’s no doubt it’s getting tougher,” added Ramsay, who will be joined on the European Tour by compatriots Stephen Gallacher, David Drysdale and Scott Jamieson next season.
“The strength and depth of the Tour is as good as it’s ever been.
“We don’t just play Europe these days but in Australia, Malaysia, South Africa – all around the world – so players from all over are competing for a chance to prove themselves on the European Tour.
“So I’ve just got to remind myself to work as hard every day to be in with a chance.”