Ross Biddiscombe talks you through the second stage of the European Tour's Q School
Q School Second Stage
No sportsman wants to fall out of a competition at the semi-final, do they? In golf’s Q School tournament – the torture chamber that provides European Tour entry to a couple of dozen lucky pros at the end of each season – Second Stage, which started yesterday, there is a semi-final up for grabs.
Tour hopefuls ranging from this year’s Open hero Paul Dunne to 48-year-old Swedish veteran Jarmo Sandelin will be at this year’s Second Stage and, although both are at opposite ends of their careers, to miss out here is just the worst feeling.
About 170 of the world’s youngest and hungriest golfers came through Q School First Stage in September and they’ve been joined by another couple of hundred more experienced pretenders in four Second Stage events across southern Spain over the next four days.
At El Saler will be Jimmy Mullen, one of England’s great hopes for the future, along with Sandelin, while another Walker Cup star from this year Ashley Chesters (who also made such an impression in his few pro starts this season) will be at Panoramica. Craig Lawrie, son of former Open champion and Ryder Cup mainstay Paul, will also be present.
Dunne tees off at Lumine in the same field as former Q School winner Simon Wakefield while the field at Las Colinas looks the toughest – there will be English veteran Jamie Elson, one-time Tour-star-of-the-future Sam Hutsby and all-knowing 12-time Q Schooler Stuart Manley.
For any of these players to fail at Second Stage will mean next season on mini tours like the EuroPro in the UK or the ALPs on continental Europe. If, however, they make it to Final Stage, then the worst they can expect is a dozen or more starts on the Challenge Tour.
For the likes of Dunne, Mullen and Chesters in particular, progress after the next 72 holes of their Q School journey is a must – no one remembers a semi-final loser.
Ross Biddiscombe is author of Cruel School: The 40th Anniversary of Golf’s European Tour Qualifying School. This book will be available in hardback and eBook formats from December. To pre-order a copy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org