London's Alan McLean Continues His Breakthrough

London, Ont.’s Alan McLean looks to have managed another Top 10 on the European Tour this week in Scotland. A final round 5-under par looks to have assured him of his European Tour card. It is a pretty stunning turn of events considering McLean started the year with only a Canadian Tour card. He played pretty well there, and went into the Canadian Open full of hope that he’d not only play the weekend, but be in contention. Instead he missed the cut by a stroke.

Having gained an exemption into the Moscow Open, McLean spent a fortune and flew to Moscow. He had three exceptional days (and one marginal one) and missed a putt on the final hole which would have placed him in a tie for second. Nonetheless he won ‚¬91741 and put himself in the Top 115 that retain tour cards for the European Tour. The following week he played in the Scandinavian Masters, finishing 23rd, winning ‚¬16,000 and putting him at 115 on the Order of Merit.

I spoke with Alan (who was sitting in an airport somewhere) after his final round at the Scandinavian Masters, and he seemed both pleased and frustrated, as he had no guarantee of which tournaments he would get in. He didn’t play last week, but managed another exemption into this week’s event at Gleneagles in Scotland.

It might not have hurt that McLean was born in Scotland. In fact, the European Tour lists him as Scottish, even though he moved to South Africa when he was very young and has lived in Canada for the past eight years. McLean told me a few weeks ago that he considers Canada home, especially since he is married to a Canadian and has a daughter who was born here.

Through the first three rounds McLean played solid, if unspectacular golf. But on Sunday McLean was exceptional, making five birdies and moving him into the Top 10. He may not finish there, but it will have been a strong week either way and will likely be enough to nail down his card.

What’s next? McLean hopes to play in a few more events, including the Dunhill in October, and then head to PGA Tour Q School. The hope is still to qualify for the PGA Tour, and McLean told me if given the option of Nationwide Tour or European Tour, he’d play in Europe, though he might mix in Nationwide events as well.

But that’s still in the future — right now the long hitter seems to be pleased that he’s finally living up to his potential.

Update: I spoke with McLean Monday night and he’s home in Canada for a couple of weeks. After this weekend’s finish, he figures he needs to make one more cut to guarantee his European Tour card.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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