Every one of the 75 players still left in Final Stage of Q
School wanted to shoot their best round of week today, but Sam Hutsbybeat them to it with a stunning six-under-par 66 on the tough Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya.
Hutsby moved up from tied 10th to 2nd on his own and is now all but certain to win one of the 30 European Tour Cards on offer that will give him full eligibility for next season’s Race To Dubai.
The most remarkable part of the round was the three eagles
on par 5s – something Hutsby had never done before. “I was hitting the ball well on the range and was in a good mindset and got off to a good start for the first time in a few days with birdies on the second and third. That put me 12-under-par and I thought it would be fine if I could finish on that score for the day. But you never know what can happen and I never really thought I’d get three eagles. Being seven-under for the par 5s certainly helps, although I’m a bit disappointed with a couple of bogeys.”
On day four, Hutsby‘s putting improved, but day five was about positioning the ball on the correct side of the hole with his approach shots. “The greens are so big and undulating that you have to leave the ball in the correct place so I can have an aggressive putt. It’s so easy to be tricked on these greens. It was a bonus to go round in six-under because it’s not really that kind of course.”
Only Simon Khan is ahead of Hutsby, although the gap is six shots. However, the 21-year-old has the Q-School title in his sights, something that has been achieved by the likes of Jose Maria Olazabal, Retief Goosen and Jesper Parnevik.
“There is no reason why I can’t go out and win the event, even though I came here just to finish in the top 30. Even a top-5 place will give me a very good card,” says Hutsby who does admit to a few nerves. “Yes, I’ve felt a little nervous, but I believe in myself, I have my best friend Martin on the bag and we’re enjoying it.”
To put Hutsby‘s performance into perspective, day five was a disaster for another young English pro, Charlie Ford from Leicester, who had been playing the better of the two up until then. Hutsby and Ford had played together many times in the amateur ranks, but yesterday (day five) Ford hit the worst round of the day, a nine-over-par 81 to drop to tied 34th.
Thirty players are on eight-under or better after day five of the Final Stage with the likes of Andrew Coltart, Stuart Manley, Miles Tunnicliff and Gary Murphy among those fighting tomorrow (Thurs) to get inside that top 30.
For more information on Qualifying School Final Stage, go to golfontheedge.co.uk