The final qualifying stage to get a player’s card to compete on next year’s European Tour has just been completed. Played over the two magnificent courses at PGA Catalunya, 30 players earned their card for full playing rights next season. That may seem quite a few but bear in mind that 967 players started the process and through a series of qualifying events 81 players set out to play 6 rounds of golf that their future depended on. Nothing to worry about then…
There were many heartbreak stories to tell not the least being the case of Jack Harrison. The 26 year old Englishman had come through two qualifying stages to get to PGA Cataluyna and after 2 rounds of 70 and 67 was near the top of the leader board. Ranked number 1814 in the world rankings and with previous career winnings of 5900 euros here he was on the verge of making it to the holy grail of European golf. Alas it was not to be his next two rounds of 75 and 76 meant he didn’t even make the cut to play the final 2 rounds. It’s a very tough school!
The quality of the field was incredible and some very well-known names were attempting to secure their futures. 36 of them had been previous winners on the European tour and only 6 of them survived to play for another year. The non-qualifiers will have to rely on sponsors invitations or other exemptions to try to earn a living next year. YE Yang who famously out battled Tiger Woods to win the PGA championship in America was the only Major winner in the field and he managed to make it through. Ryder Cup player Eduardo Molinari also made it but well established European Tour players like Oliver Wilson, Steve Webster, Ross Mcgowan, Michael Hoey, Simon Khan, Richard Finch, Bret Rumford and Alvero Quiros.
On a brighter note there were 12 rookies to the tour gaining their cards and starting a new chapter in their careers. These include the winner the 23 year old Englishman Nathan Kimsey who shot 13 under par for the 6 rounds including an incredible round of 61. If you have been to PGA Cataluyna you will know what an unbelievable score that is and if you haven’t been yet go and have a look and see how low you can shoot.
For those who didn’t make it this year they can take heart from the fact that Ricardo Gonzalez qualified age 47 and two players qualified again after graduating 6 times previously and then losing their cards.
Think about this the next time you play in your monthly medal unless you shoot under par 6 Rounds in a row you will be out of work in the morning. No pressure then!