PETER Whiteford has retained his European Tour playing rights following a nervy final event of the season last week.
The Kirkcaldy golfer secured his place on next year’s Tour with a top 30 finish at the South African Open Championship.
Only the top 115 players in the Order of Merit retain their place for the following year, and Whiteford has sneaked through in 110th.
The Wellsgreen pro travelled to South Africa knowing that, at the very least, he had to survive the halfway cut to keep his 2013 playing hopes alive.
He got off to the worst possible start, with a double-bogey on the first hole of his first round, but he recovered superbly to shoot two opening rounds of 69.
That left him six under par, and inside the top 10 going into the final two days of play, although closing rounds of 72 and 75 dropped him to a final position of 28th.
Nonetheless, the £7500 prize money was enough to keep him ahead of the chasing pack, his season earnings of £163,000 keeping him just £9500 inside the cut off line.
Whiteford’s battle against elimination was in stark contrast to his superb form in 2011, where earnings of almost £390,000 saw him finish 63rd in the Race to Dubai, missing qualification for the end of season World Championship by just three places.
His performances in his home events, The Scottish Open and the Johnny Walker Championships, proved his saving grace this year as the combined prize money for two top 10 finishes represented half of his season’s earnings.
While there was relief for Whiteford in South Africa, there was anguish for Anstruther’s George Murray, who needed to finish in the top two to keep his Tour card.
However, he failed to make the cut, finsihing 155th on the Tour list, and now faces the prospect of Qualifying School, which starts in Girona on Saturday.