- European Tour Final Qualifying
Dougherty & Davies headline Q-School casualties
There were a number of high-profile casualties at European Tour Final Qualifying on Tuesday, as the field was cut down ahead of the final two rounds.
With only the top 70 and ties progressing to the final two days at PGA Catalunya, big names including Nick Dougherty and Rhys Davies saw their hopes of securing playing rights on the European Tour for 2013 die an agonising death following four fraught days of golf.
Dougherty, a three-time tour winner whose last triumph came as recently as 2009, has endured a nightmarish loss of form over the past 18 months - and never looked like making the final two rounds of the six-round tournament as a 20-over-par total ultimately left him 151st in the 154-man field.
Davies, meanwhile, saw his challenge end in difficult circumstances - a five-over par back nine of 41 at the Stadium Course seeing the 2010 Trophee Hassan II winner miss the cut by just two strokes.
Dougherty and Davies were not the only significant names to fail to reach Thursday's conclusion, however, with past tour event winners including Bradley Dredge and Matthew Zions also missing out.
Warren Bennett, Paul Broadhurst, Jarmo Sandelin and Kenneth Ferrie are all going home early - as are Jin Jeong and Peter Uihlein, former British Amateur and US Amateur champions respectively.
For 73 players, however, the dream of playing their way into the top 25 and earning full playing rights for the 2013 European Tour season is still alive. Former Great Britain & Northern Ireland Walker Cup player Andy Sullivan holds the lead heading into the final two rounds at 13-under, tied with Argentina's Tano Goya - who won the Madeira Islands Open as a 20-year-old in 2009.
The English duo of John Parry and Richard McEvoy are both well placed at 11-under, with Matthew Southgate and Mattew Nixon just inside the top ten two shots further back.
"It's a long week but I've been here several times and I know what it's like," McEvoy said, when asked about the pressure on players. "I won it in 2003, so that gives me a lot of confidence.
"It's a week where you have to keep the ball in play and, more than anything, not lose your rag. Patience is massively important."
Other notable names still in the hunt for playing rights include Oliver Wilson, Gary Orr, Seve Benson, Stephen Dodd, Markus Brier, Alastair Forsyth, Ross McGowan and Gary Boyd.
David Dixon and Sam Hutsby - who finished first and second in this event 12 months ago - are also still alive, but need to make a big push over the closing 36 holes, as they currently both sit in a tie for 56th at one-over.