Long (centre) with his fellow qualifiers – Getty Images
New Zealand’s Michael Long had headed the qualifiers for the 2020 European Senior (Staysure) Tour, the 51 year old the only player to card four consecutive sub-70 rounds in winning by two shots at Pestana Golf Resort in Portugal.
Long, who has competed in 99 European Tour events in his career, has eight professional victories to his name, his most recent in 2018 on the PGA Tour of Australasia, and he will now look to continue his winning ways in his rookie season against the best senior golfers in Europe.
The five players who secured status for this season are Long, Euan McIntosh, Andrew Raitt, David Morland IV and Carl Suneson.
Long, who has played on many of the world’s leading tours including the PGA, European, Korn Ferry and Australasian Tours, played the European Tour for three years in the late 1990’s, his best finish during that time when runner-up to Ernie Els at the Johnnie Walker Championship on the Gold Coast.
He headed to the US in 2000 and played there for several years, twice graduating to the PGA Tour via the Korn Ferry Tour.
While his career was reasonably successful it might have been more so but for a boogie board accident in the surf in 1999.
He has won several events on the PGA Tour of Australasia including the Greg Norman International, the New Zealand Open, the WA PGA and the Vic Open.
Now Perth based, Long has already won an event on the Australian Seniors schedule and gets the chance to capitalise on his significant game over a schedule of 18 Staysure Tour events in 2020.
“I’ve been lucky. I’ve been pretty much exempt on most tours that I’ve played on. I think the last time I had a successful Tour school was in 1992 or 1991, and that was down in Australia. I’ve failed a couple times in Final Stage on the US Tour.
“I can’t believe it really. This is completely out of the blue. It’s a lot of really good players out here, and if you can’t smile now, when can you? It’s just nice to come out on top of a top-quality field.