The gut-twisting, nerve-jangling Q School is over in Europe for another year and, yes, there were all the usual triumphs and tragedies.
Triumphs first: Oskar Henningsson of Sweden deservedly won by four shots with a massive score of 21 under. He takes the best of the 32 Tour Cards that were won in PGA Catalunya this week and a prize of £15,000.
Oskar was one of a record eight players who won Tour Cards after having played all three Stages of the Q School. Among the other seven were three British stars of the future: Chris Wood, Danny Willett and Jonathan Caldwell.
England’s John Mellor made the most dramatic climb up the leaderboard with a 4 under par 68 (the second best score of the day) that lifted him from tied 39th to 24th.
And there were some Cards for the older members of the golfing fraternity: Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman (who was giving out hugs to anyone in his vicinity after he finished 6th), Scotland’s Andrew Coltart (14th) and Gary Clark of England (11th). Even Santiago Luna of Spain, who bogeyed the final hole and thought he’d missed his chance, sneaked in exactly on the mark.
The drama of the day was where the infamous 30th place would fall in the scoring; finish inside the top 30 and get a Tour Card, but finish outside and you’re in Nowheresville for 2009.
The cut mark began the day at 5 under and most experts said that would be the same by the end of the day simply because Q School tension on day six allows par to be a very good score.
However, a cavalry charge of birdies began on the back 9 and the cut mark at one time went to 7 under before settling at 6. There were a lot of disappointed players who were setting their sights on 5 under and could not get enough momentum to force the final couple of birdies as the scores improved.
So now the tragedies and where to start? Carl Suneson of Spain had a 3 over 75 to drop out of the top 30 and down to 42nd; England’s Iain Pyman’s back injury meant that he struggled all day and eventually fell back to 3 under after starting tied 30th; and Ireland’s Michael McGeady bogeyed the final hole to miss by one shot.
And if you want even more despair, talk to Nathan Smith, the only American left in the field who was almost out of contention after a day five score of 76, yet he then went and shot the best round of day six (67), but it still wasn’t enough and he also missed by one shot.
Another year, another unparalleled set of trials and tribulations of Q School. And, maybe even another Q School book from me next year; watch this space.
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Click on the link for more on Ross’ book Golf On The Edge: Triumphs & Tragedies Of Q School