Manitoba golfer Aaron Cockerill lands European Tour card

Manitoba golfer Aaron Cockerill has earned a European Tour playing card for the 2019-20 season.

The native of Stony Mountain, Man., finished Wednesday’s sixth and final round tied for fifth at the tour’s final qualifying tournament, putting him well inside the top-25 cutoff for a full card.

“I’m just excited,” Cockerill said. “I thought I’d probably be a little bit more emotional. I’m happy it’s done with. It’s a stressful week, especially when it’s as close as it is.”

Cockerill, 27, was 16 under for the tournament, nine strokes behind winner Benjamin Poke of Denmark.

Cockerill played on the Challenge Tour, the top feeder to the European Tour, this year. He finished 49th in the standings.

The Canadian also played three events on the European Tour this season, making the cut in two.

“I think my game will transfer maybe even better to more difficult golf courses,” Cockerill said.

Cockerill made the trek overseas after spending the past three years on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada following a four-year NCAA run at the University of Idaho.

The European Tour often is called the second best tour in the world, behind the PGA Tour.

Traditionally, few Canadians play the European Tour.

The most recent winner of a European Tour event not affiliated with the PGA Tour was Jerry Anderson at the 1984 European Masters Swiss Open.

Mike Weir won the 2000 WGC-American Express Championship and 2003 Masters, which were included on the European Tour schedule but also had many PGA Tour players.

Cockerill is planning to return home to Manitoba on Thursday before returning overseas.

“(His phone) hasn’t stopped buzzing,” Cockerill said. “I’m excited to talk everyone back home and just looking forward to next year.”

The 2019-20 season begins Nov. 28-Dec. 1 with the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

The schedule includes a minimum 46 events in 29 countries.

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