How strange that at the same time as the USPGA stages its last ever Q School, the European Tour version finishes with more excitement, fascinating stories and big name players involved than ever before.
And at the top of the heap after day six was Yorkshireman John Parry – one of five Englishmen in the top 10 – who glided away from the field to win by four shots on -19 from Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg and another Englishman Andy Sullivan (late of Walker Cup fame).
All hail to Parry who won on the Tour in 2010, but then slumped down the rankings until this week when he found a confidence and precision that he last experienced in when he won the Vivendi Trophy. His first round of the six-day Q School torture was 1 over par, but from then on he consistently got better and kept those dreaded double bogeys off his card on the two tough Catalunya courses.
Other notable names joining him with Tour Cards in 2013 were England’s Matthew Southgate, Richard McEvoy, Matthew Nixon and Sam Little; plus Scotland’s Garry Orr (who gained the final card despite a last hole bogey) and Callum Macaulay.
But, as ever in Q School, it’s about those who missed out as much as those who succeeded. Oliver Wilson – a Ryder Cupper just four years ago – double bogeyed the 14th hole to spiral his chances downwards and, even though he then recovered with a couple of birdies, he missed by a those two crucial dropped shots.
Also disappointed were Peter Hedblom of Sweden; Alistair Forsyth of Scotland; David Dixon (who won this event last year), Sam Hutsby, Gary Boyd, Andrew Marshall and Ross McGowan of England; Markus Brier of Austria; and Stephen Dodd (a World Cup winner not so long ago) of Wales.
The bottom line is that staying on the European Tour is hard and will only get harder if players like Tiger Woods decide to take membership because of the new, even-bigger-money end-of-season tournaments announced this week.
But, thankfully, the European Tour will keep its Q School with Americans, South Koreans, Australians, Argentinians, South Africans and so many more countries sending their best players.
Well done, John and the 27 other Tour Card holders for 2013 and roll on next season!
Ross Biddiscombe is the author of two books – entitled Golf On The Edge – about the European Tour Q School. For details, go to www.golfontheedge.co.uk