Michael Long will compete against the best senior golfers in Europe in 2020 after winning Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage by two shots at Pestana Golf Resort.
Running in second place through the second and third rounds, Long put his best foot forward across the final 18 holes to post a scorecard of 5-under 66, his fourth consecutive sub-70 round.
The Kiwi was rock solid from the outset and saved his best for last to finish on 14-under par in a pressure-packed week where five players earned Staysure Tour cards for the 2020 season.
“I’ve been lucky. I’ve been pretty much exempt on most tours that I’ve played on,” Long said.
“I think the last time I had a successful Tour school was in 1992 or 1991, and that was down in Australia. I’ve failed a couple times in Final Stage on the US tour.
“I can’t believe it really. This is completely out of the blue. There’s a lot of really good players out here, and if you can’t smile now, when can you? It’s just nice to come out on top of a top-quality field.”
The 51-year-old, who has competed in 99 European Tour events in his career, has eight professional victories to his name with his most recent coming at the TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.
Since turning 50 in 2018 Long has also made an impression on Australia’s local senior’s tour, the Ladbrokes Legends Tour, recording wins at the tour’s premier events, the Lincoln Place NSW Senior Open and Australian PGA Seniors Championship.
Long will now look to continue his winning ways in his rookie season against the best senior golfers in Europe, including seven-time Staysure Tour winner and Australian, Peter Fowler.
But first, Long will return to Australia for a short stint on the Ladbrokes Legends Tour from Monday 3 January at the Moama Masters at Rich River Golf Club followed by the McLardy McShane Legends Pro-Am at Murray Downs Golf & Country Club.
Sharing second place on 12 under par were Scottish amateur Euan McIntosh and Canadian David Morland IV. The two players spent the majority of Final Stage inside the all-important top five and like Long, will now compete in their rookie seasons on the Staysure Tour.
Qualifying School Final Stage
Pestana Golf Resort
Michael Long 67-68-69-66 270