Day three of Qualifying School Final Stage and Golf Monthly’s touring professional Sam Hutsby made his first big move up the field – an extremely controlled five-under score yesterday (Monday) that shot him from tied 50th to tied 22nd and in good position for his much-desired Tour Card. After 54 holes he is six-under for the tournament.
But the day did not start too well for the 21-year-old, both on and off the course. Playing the easier Tour Course where two-under was about the average score, Sam opened his round with a potential confidence-sapper. “I bogeyed the first hole; I three-putted the first hole from six feet. It put me under a bit of pressure; I had to collect my thoughts.”
However, it was not the first bad thing to happen to the young player yesterday morning. Just a few hours before that first-hole drama, Sam had woken to find his hire car had been towed away from outside his seafront hotel because it was illegally parked. A mad scramble to the local police station eventually freed the car and the unexpected loss of 90 minutes meant his pre-round preparation was disturbed. But at least his clubs were in his room and there was never any chance of him missing his tee time.
“I’d parked on the seafront for three days in a row and it was OK, but I got up this morning and thought somebody had stolen the car. We panicked a bit and were sprinting down the streets to find the police station to get it back. It meant that I didn’t prepare as fully as I could’ve for my round, but I turned that bit of bad luck into good luck on the course. I’ll have to park the car a bit safer tonight.”
Sam birdied the second hole to repair the early damage. “It felt like I started with two pars (after the birdie). I played really nicely after that, but couldn’t hole any putts or I could’ve gone really low.” Three birdies in four holes around the turn meant that, by the time Sam got to the 10th, he was three-under for the day. Then a series of six pars was broken by two more birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
“I was positioning the ball well and I felt I deserved a birdie-birdie finish. I feel good about my game and feel I’ve got a lot more to give. I’m frustrated, but you can never be too disappointed with five-under.”
Sam was happy with his early comeback. “Whatever the outcome, I’m learning from my mistakes and I’m dealing with those things. You have to try to brush these things away.
“Qualifying from Second Stage gave me confidence and I’ve got the best out of each of my rounds. Now it’s a case of grinding out the pars and I said I needed a good round today and that’s exactly what I did.”
Sam is tied 22nd and right on the mark for one of the 30 Tour Cards on offer which will be handed out after the sixth round on Thursday. Tournament leaders are young Englishman Charlie Ford from Leicester and the experienced Simon Khan of Essex both on 14-under; another Englishman, Jamie Elson is one behind.
Today (Tuesday) is the day of the fourth round cut when the top 70 players and ties will go forward to the last two days.
For more from Ross Biddiscombe about Q School Final Stage, go to golfontheedge.co.uk