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Ashford golfer Jason Barnes, professional at Chart Hills Golf Club, wins European Tour Card for 2015

Chart Hills professional Jason Barnes can look forward to “mixing it” with the big boys of European golf next year after winning his Tour Card in dramatic fashion at the weekend.

The Ashford-born 30-year-old, who lives in Headcorn, finished joint 18th in the Dubai Festival City Challenge Grand Finale and the 3,999 Euros that he won took his total winnings for the season on the PGA Challenge Tour – the second tier of European pro golf – to 77,793 Euros.

That left the former England amateur international in 15th place on the final Tour rankings – with the top 15 earning their Tour Card for the full European Tour in 2015.

A delighted Barnes said: “It’s all been a bit of a crazy few weeks and it hasn’t sunk in yet.

“When I was playing my final round in Dubai I didn’t think I had a chance of making it and it was only an hour or so after I’d finished that I realised I still had a chance.

“Then the other guys who were also chasing the final spot dropped a few shots over the closing holes to let me in.”

Barnes, who worked in the motor trade before turning pro five years ago, had tried several times to earn his full Tour Card at Qualifying School.

He is already looking forward to playing in his first event of the 2015 European Tour season, which starts in South Africa next month.

Barnes will compete in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club from December 11-14 and said: “I’m planning to play a pretty full schedule next year because you’ve got to make the most of it while you’ve got the chance.”

He has been coached for the past two years by Steve Mitchell, the head coach at Etchinghill GC, and said: “Steve hasn’t changed too much about my swing but what he does is to work with what I’ve got and just make sure I stay on the right track and don’t stray into bad habits. He’s a good man to have in your corner.”

Mitchell, who is also the lead coach for Kent, said: “We’ve known each other ever since we were kids and it’s fantastic (that Jason has got his card) but now the hard work begins!

“The thing I would say about Jason is that he’s a winner. A lot of golfers go out there just to make sure they don’t play badly but Jason goes out there to win – he’s always been like that.

“I have been lead county coach for three years and I see a lot of players coming through and ‘Barnesy’ is the ideal role model for young golfers.”

Mitchell, meanwhile, proved that he can still play a bit himself by beating West Kent GC’s Jay Kelly in the final of the Kent PGA Matchplay Championship at Littlestone GC last week.

Jason Barnes playing on the European Challenge Tour event the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic. Picture: Phil Inglis.
Jason Barnes playing on the European Challenge Tour event the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic. Picture: Phil Inglis.
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