IT’S that time of the year again when players at the wrong end of the European Tour’s money list march through the swinging doors of the last chance saloon and have a final fling of the dice, writes Nick Rodger.

For the rank and file, this week’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama is the closing event of the regular European Tour season. It’s not quite win or bust for those struggling to retain their playing rights but it may as well be.

Duncan Stewart, the tour rookie from Grantown-on-Spey, languishes down in 129th spot on the Race to Dubai and needs a share of second to hoist himself into the safety zone of the leading 100. He could go even better, of course, and finish first. As Tiger Woods used to say: “Winning takes care of everything.”

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Anything is possible in this game but it could be something of a mission impossible for Stewart. Missing the cut in the lucrative Dunhill Links Championship recently, an event which has been the saviour of many a toiling tour player down the seasons, was a hammer blow.

“The first round at the Dunhill was very disappointing, frustrating and to be honest quite embarrassing especially when it was at the easier of the three courses,” reflected Stewart of that crippling 82 at Kingsbarns a couple of weeks ago.

“I’ve played some good golf over the summer but I’ve been far too inconsistent. I’ve only had one top 10 all year and that’s where you need to finish if you want to keep your card.

“It’s been an up and down season and I would have liked to have been going into this event having secured the top 100 but there’s still this week left to achieve that. There’s always someone who saves their card in the last event and I’m hoping that’s going to be me this year.”

Elsewhere, Oban rookie Robert MacIntyre notched a maiden victory in just his second event as a professional at the MENA Tour’s Kuwait Golf Championship.

MacIntyre reeled off rounds of 65, 66 and 65 for a 14-under 196 and a two shot triumph.

MacIntyre began his pro career with a round of 78 on his MENA Tour debut in Jordan the other week but is now 25-under for his last five rounds on the third-tier circuit.