One of the Q School’s good ol’ boys and one of its newest stars were making the headlines yesterday after the second round of First Stage Q School.  First, the new: Bristol’s newest golfing star Chris Wood continued to stride towards his dream of a full-time place on next season’s PGA European Tour.

The 20-year-old shot a four-birdie-one-bogey 70 yesterday for a two-round score of 9 under par at the Tour’s First Stage Qualifying School tournament at The Oxfordshire.  His 65 on day one left him tied for the lead, but he’s now tied fourth behind England’s Adam Frayne and Scot Callum Macaulay who are both 11 under. 

Early birdies on the front 9 left Chris in control of his destiny in the tournament where the top 30 players will progress to Second Stage of the Q School in Spain in November.

The Open Championship silver medallist is thanking caddie Gordon Faulkner for his progress to date.  “I’d never seen this course before and only played 27 holes on the practice days this week, but Gordon’s been here hundreds of times, so he knows it as well as anyone,” said Chris.

Wood’s only possible problem this week could be mental fatigue.  “I know I should qualify and the tournaments I’ve played on Tour have taught me a lot, but I am feeling tired because since the Open, I’ve felt pretty mentally drained.  All this is quite new to me and takes a bit of getting used to,” he added.

Meanwhile, the good ol’ boy – Jesus Maria Arruti – is illustrating to Wood that persistence is a necessary quality at this level of golf.  The 39-year-old from San Sebastian in Spain has been to Q School every single autumn since 1989.  Yes, that’s 1989, almost 20 years ago.  And he’s only ever won over €100,000 (a decent living) once in all that time and has won his Tour Card five times in 19 attempts.  Yet he now leads in Moliets, France, after a second round 63. 

Arruti is living proof that some golfers never give up on their dream of the European Tour; he’s one of hundreds who return every year – it’s the focus of their whole year which regular makes failure so difficult to accept.

Over in Bogogno, Italy, there’s a three-way tie for the lead – Ignacio Sanchez-Palencia and Jordi Garcia Pinto both of Spain and Andrea Perrion, an Italian amateur.

After the third round, there is a cut – only anyone within seven shots of 30th place will play the final round.

Click on the link for more on Ross’ book Golf On The Edge: Triumphs & Tragedies Of Q School