Ross Biddiscombe discusses the latest developments in the European Tour's Q School.
European Tour Q School round-up
There is just nothing like the drama of a Second Stage Q School playoff and Ireland’s Paul Dunne has just proven his worth as a potential star of the future by surviving it to keep his hopes of a 2016 European Tour Card alive.
But it was awfully close. The 22-year-old from County Wicklow took six nerve-jangling play-off holes to seal his place at Final Stage of the School that begins on Saturday.
Dunne and Frenchman Victor Riu fought off four other players in the six-man play-off to gain the last two qualification places after they all finished tied 17th at Lumine on 10 under par, nine shots behind the winner, Daniel Gavins of England. Dunne had been on the borderline all week and was one shot off a place at Final Stage after three rounds, so his closing 67 was a testimony to his resilience and must be one mighty relief.
The Irishman, who led The Open Championship this summer after 54 holes, did not have St Andrews on his mind yesterday as he battled for his professional life. If he had missed Final Stage then his career could have stalled significantly, probably sending him towards the mini tours such as EuroPro or perhaps to the Asian Tour for a year of experience.
He is guaranteed at least a full season on the 2016 Challenge Tour simply by qualifying for Final Stage. Now his attention will shift concentrate on finishing in the top 25 at PGA Catalunya in northern Spain and thereby gaining full membership of the European Tour.
Among those joining him in Catalunya will be 21-year-old Jimmy Mullen of England, who won at El Saler. Swedish veteran Jarmo Sandelin progressed alongside Mullen. A third 2015 Walker Cupper (after Dunne and Mullen) , Ashley Chesters, cruised through from Panoramica, with Welshman Stuart Manley and the experienced Dutchman Maarten Lefeber also qualifiying.
Former Q School winner Simon Wakefield led the large number of disappointed golfers who tumbled out at Second Stage. Also suffering failure were Englishmen Jamie Elson, Andrew Marshall and Sam Hutsby and Paul Lawrie’s son, Craig.
Ross Biddiscombe is author of Cruel School: The 40th Anniversary of Golf’s European Tour Q School. This book will be available in hardback and eBook formats from mid-December. For more details, go to www.golfontheedge.co.uk