Kent's Roger Chapman, a veteran of 615 events on the European Tour, bowed out of the Tour School final at San Roque and then declared his days on the main circuit are over.

While Birmingham youngster Tom Whitehouse leads the race for one of the 30 tour cards up for grabs, the 46-year-old Chapman failed to survive the fourth-round cut.

A 79 left the former English Amateur champion with a 14-over-par aggregate of 302, five shots too many.

Only Sam Torrance, with 695 tournaments to his name, has played in more Tour events than Chapman but while Torrance was celebrating winning the Senior Tour's order of merit, Chapman was left a disconsolate figure.

"I've had enough. I'm going home and I won't see you boys again," said Chapman to a gathering of press and tour officials.

At the head of the field, Whitehouse carded a 71 for a nine-under aggregate of 279 and a two-shot lead over David Griffiths and fellow Midlander Robert Rock.

On a testing day where only 20 players broke par and only six dipped below 70, Whitehouse handled the windy conditions well despite dropping shots at the 16th and 17th. I played very well today, I just let myself down on the last couple of holes," Whitehouse said.

"I didn't quite strike it properly on the 16th and then hit my only bad shot of the day on the 17th. Other than that, I was solid and my first 15 holes were immaculate."

Rock, who like Whitehouse is attached to The Belfry, also posted a 71 for a seven-under 281 while Griffiths battled to a 72.

Ryder Cup vice-captain Peter Baker and Ireland's former Ryder Cup player Philip Walton were among the casualties as they missed the cut.

"This week has been a real kick in the teeth," said Tettenhall's Baker. "I'm very disappointed about it. I really thought I would have a good week and certainly prepared for it but never got going."

Gregory Bourdy of France was one of the unluckiest players to depart early, when he was disqualified after signing for a wrong score. At level-par, Bourdy was sitting comfortably in the top ten but an incident on the 17th green cost him dear.

As he replaced his ball, the wind blew it about an inch but, rather than playing the ball from its new position, he incorrectly replaced the ball in the original spot. That would have incurred a two-stroke penalty but, unfortunately, he did not raise the incident until after signing his card and was disqualified.