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Bearsted golfer Matt Ford retains European Tour card for 2016 after finishing in the top 10 at UBS Hong Kong Open

By Matthew Panting

Matt Ford has delivered one of his best-ever performances to retain his European Tour card for the 2016 season.

The 37-year-old from Bearsted finished tied for seventh place in the UBS Hong Kong Open - his 28th tournament of a gruelling debut campaign among golf's elite players.

After missing three successive cuts, Ford dropped out of the top 110 in the race to Dubai rankings but his finish in Hong Kong means he has stormed back to retain his card for next season - and avoid having to go to Q-school.

Matt Ford has retained his European Tour card for 2016. Picture Martin Apps

Matt Ford has retained his European Tour card for 2016. Picture: Martin Apps

Ford kept his nerve during his final round on Sunday morning, returning a one under-par score of 69 to finish 10 under for the week.

On his final round, Ford dropped a shot at the first after a wayward drive but regained his composure to pick up birdies at three and seven. 

He birdied the 12th for the third day running and survived dropping shots at 15 and 16 by picking up another birdie on 17. Ford then made par at the last to begin celebrations both in Hong Kong and back home for his family.

Earlier in the week, Ford followed up an opening day 69 with a faultless five under-par 65 on day two which saw him tied for fifth.

He backed that up with five more birdies on Saturday in an impressive round of 67, dented only by a double bogey on nine, to go into the final round tied in sixth spot.

Ford's best finish this season was second in the African Open in March. 

Ford finished 105th in the race to Dubai rankings with 262,333 points which means he retains his playing privileges next year. 

He was originally placed 106th but moved up one place in the final standings after Brooks Keopka withdraw from the WGC - HSBC Champions and DP World Tour Championship, prompting his removal from the Race to Dubai for not playing the minimum requirement of 13 events.

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