Ross Biddiscombe talks us through the latest Q School developments...
Q School Final Stage – delight or disaster?
There were equal helpings of delight and disaster at Q School’s Final Stage on day four. With so many stories of players going in both directions, let’s start with the disasters.
The highest-profile heartbreak was Soren Hansen of Denmark. Seven years ago he was a winning Ryder Cup player, but his fourth round here at PGA Catalunya proved a tipping point – an awful 78 sent him more than 40 places down the field, missing the cut by three. The worst thing about it was that he dropped five shots in the last five holes.
How about some other tales of woe? England’s Tom Murray was breezing along until a 10 on one par 4 hole led to an 80, the worst score of the day. There were also a few 79s, like Finland’s Kalle Samooja whose triple bogey today was the difference – he missed the cut by three. Walker Cup players Ashley Chesters and Jimmy Mullen, who won his Second Stage event, are going home, as is Johan Edfors, despite a 65. England’s Nick Dougherty never got his miracle and neither did Jarmo Sandelin.
But there was delight for Yorkshireman Daniel Gavins, whose -4 score was one of the best and sent him into the joint lead with fellow countryman Chris Hanson and South Africa’s Jean Hugo.
Lower down, the cut makers included another ex-Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari whose -2 score was just enough. Peter Hedlom went one better with a -3 round to continue his Final Stage story. Ryan Fox of New Zealand surged beyond the -1 cut mark with a round-of-the-day 64.
Luckiest man in the field? Holland’s Maarten Lefeber finished +6, a score that should have sent him packing, but he made it through bang on the mark. Stuart Manley of Wales holed a knee-knocking bogey putt on the last to also finish on -1.
A total of 78 players now face another 36 holes before the top 25 and ties get European Tour Cards – it’s going to be a wild two days!
Ross Biddiscombe is author of Cruel School: The 40th Anniversary of Golf’s European Tour Q School. This book will be available in hardback and eBook formats from mid-December. For more details, go to www.golfontheedge.co.uk