JAMES Busby has booked his place on next seasonâ€™s Challenge Tour after winning the biggest event of the 2011 PGA EuroPro Tour season.
Busby, who had finished second at three competitions this year, claimed victory when it mattered most as he triumphed in the 888poker.com Tour Championships at the Intercontinental Mar Menor Golf Resort in Murcia, Spain.
He led by one shot at the start of the final day but eventually won on the third extra hole of a play-off as he edged out George Cowan after the pair had finished on -14 after three rounds.
Busby, 29, pocketed Â£15,000 for the win and secured his place in the top five in the Order of Merit to advance to the higher tier and be only one step away from playing alongside Europeâ€™s elite on the main European Tour.
â€œItâ€™s an unbelievable feeling,â€ said a delighted Busby (The Shropshire). â€œIt was a place in the top five that I was after but the victory was a bonus on top of that.
â€œThe last three years have been tough as Iâ€™ve put myself in position for the top five and last year I missed out by one place, which was terrible. I didnâ€™t perform in the Tour Championships last year and that was in the back of mind but this year Iâ€™ve finished the job.
â€œIâ€™ve put in the practice and knew the course so I knew what shots to practice on.
â€œIâ€™ve played a couple of Challenge Tour events and finished 11th at an event at Stoke-by-Nayland – there is not much difference in the standard between the Challenge Tour and the EuroPro.
â€œMy ambition has been this and beyond and I want to be on the main tour and be well known as a good golfer so hopefully I can get from the Challenge Tour to the main tour. I donâ€™t know where my career can lead to now and thereâ€™s a good living to be made.â€
Chris Hanson (Woodsome Hall) and Graeme Clark (Doncaster) had already secured their places on next yearâ€™s Challenge Tour and were joined by Luke Goddard (Hendon), Busby and Jamie Abbott (Fynn Valley).
But there was heartbreak for a number of players including Duncan Stewart (Grantown on Spey), Paul Reed (Bristol and Clifton), Cowan (Westerhope) and Darryn Lloyd, who narrowly missed out on a top five place.
The tour did not end well for all players as Zane Scotland ended the campaign heading to hospital after an injury sustained by the hotel pool.
â€œI broke something in my foot or toe. Itâ€™s really painful and hospital later,â€ tweeted Scotland.
All of the event action has been filmed and Matchroom sport will produce a highlights programme, which will be broadcast on Sky Sports on Wednesday, October 26.
ORDER OF MERIT AT END OF SEASON (TOP FIVE ADVANCE TO CHALLENGE TOUR)
1 Chris Hanson – Woodsome Hall Golf Club – Â£37,929.50
2 James Busby – The Shropshire – Â£29,191.67
3 Graeme Clark – Doncaster GC – Â£25,653.34
4 Luke Goddard – Hendon – Â£16,664.17
5 Jamie Abbott – Fynn Valley – Â£15,768.46
6 Duncan Stewart – Grantown on Spey – Â£15,405.62
7 Paul Reed – Bristol & Clifton Golf Club – Â£13,823.60
8 George Cowan – Westerhope Golf Club – Â£12,779.67
9 Darryn W. Lloyd – Acrabuild Ltd/W.Ash & Sons – Â£12,497.50
10 Andrew Willey – Notts Golf Club – Â£12,200.00