Golf Monthly’s Sam Hutsby capped off a dream week at Qualifying School with a splendid three-under par that won him the number two Tour Card.
“It’s an incredible feeling to get a Tour Card, a real dream come true,” said a relieved Hutsby afterwards. Five of the 21-year-old’s six days were under par and he finished 19-under after rounds of 69, 72, 65, 68, 66 and 69.
“I didn’t want to think about it this week really, but not to get a Card would’ve been a real setback. I didn’t play well last week at Second Stage either and I wasn’t sure if I could peak at the right time.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I’ll be on Tour next year, but I now know I can compete even if I’m not at my absolute best,” he said.
His final 18 holes did not get off to the best start. “To ensure the Card, I knew all I needed to do today was not do anything stupid. I bogeyed the second and that was exactly what I didn’t want to do; a top-five finish was my goal at least. When I eagled the third hole, that was my fourth eagle in the last 15 holes, so I knew I was hitting it OK. I even ended up having a chance to win the event,” he said.
Before then, however, a front nine of only 36 was putting his top-five plans in jeopardy. “I even looked at the scoreboard at one time and saw a few of the guys coming up behind me fast. But when I got my four birdies in five holes on the back nine it settled me down.” The birdies came from the 11th to the 15th.
On the last hole, Hutsby had a 40ft putt to tie with eventual winner Simon Khan on 20-under. He had begun the day six behind Khan and it had been his plan at the start of the day to gain some ground on the leader.
There was also praise for caddie Martin Adams who is also Hutsby‘s best friend and a scratch golfer himself. “Every event we’ve played together, I’ve seen my name on the giant leaderboard and I’d never have dreamed of that a few months ago. I hope we can now have some more success together on Tour,” said the 21-year-old.
Hutsby’s story, however, was far from being the most dramatic of the final day. Thirty-one players finished on ten-under or better to win Tour Cards. Three players in particular who finished exactly on the mark were among the most triumphant stories of the day: Scott Drummond of Scotland holed a 25-yard chip on the 18th; Australian Rick Kulacz drained a 40ft putt on the same green for his score and also had the best round of the day – an eight-under 64 that included ten birdies; and Julien Gurrier of France (who led after day one with a remarkable 60) had to knock in a ten-foot putt for his ten-under.
Among the other remarkable Tour Card winners was South Africa’s George Coetzee whose round included a triple bogey, two eagles and a last-hole birdie to finish on 11-under. Andrew Coltart, Jamie Elson, Gary Murphy, Phil Archer, James Ruth and Simon Thornton were among those who made it into the top 31.
Among the tragic tales were Sam Walker of England who bogeyed the last to end on nine-under and Italy’s Alessandro Tadini who double bogeyed his 15th hole to miss by two. Liam Bond of Wales was also on course for a Card, but bogeyed the last two holes to miss by one shot.
For more on Qualifying School, go to golfontheedge.co.uk