Golf Monthly’s touring professional Sam Hutsby started his third round in a tie for 50th after two very tough days of the Final Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain, but has made his move on Monday courtesy of a third-round 65.
The 21-year-old who has burst onto the pro scene this year was disappointed to shoot a one-under- par 69 on day one on the easier Tour Course at PGA Catalunya on Saturday when the leader shot a remarkable ten-under. But yesterday (Sunday) on day two, Sam showed his mettle with a fighting level-par 72 on the tougher Stadium Course and in the worst of the conditions.
“It was a tougher course today (Sunday) and the wind was a lot stronger. It was going to be a grinding day,” said Sam from Liphook GC in Hampshire. “I had a course management error at the 4th when I hit it into the water and double bogeyed, but two birdies on the 8th and 9th made up for it.”
But although Sam felt he was coming into some form on the back nine, he hit a drive into a bush on the 15th and bogeyed again. Then, a few near misses on the greens left him at one under for the event. Nevertheless, his score was a superb effort because his group – the last to tee-off – suffered the worst weather with blinding rain for much of the final three holes.
It was not the first piece of bad luck for Sam since he has been in Spain. The youngster suffered whiplash in a car crash last week just before Second Stage of Q School and only just managed to progress after a final under-par last 18 holes. However, now fully recovered, Sam is confident of getting one of the 30 European Tour Cards that will be handed out after six punishing rounds of this unique event that finishes on Thursday.
“I’ve felt a bit frustrated at the moment because I got off to a great start on day one with a couple of early birdies, but I couldn’t keep it going and was one over at one stage. If you make a mistake here then you get punished, so I was glad to get back under par,” he said.
“The good news is that I prefer the Stadium Course and we’ll play four rounds on that one. I like grinding out a score and that’s what’s needed there. I think I can score decently as long as I’m patient. The Stadium Course’s long and it’s tight, but I feel confident and it’s nice to know that even though I’m not quite on my game, I’m still shooting decent scores.”
The surprising joint leader after day two at Final Stage is another young Englishman and friend of Sam’s, Charlie Ford from Leicester who turned pro only a few weeks ago after missing out on the Walker Cup team.
Charlie added a day-two six-under to his five-under opening round and is in top spot alongside Simon Khan. The leaderboard is full of English talent with Jamie Elson third and Sam Walker fourth. Day one leader Julien Guerrier (who shot the ten under then) was pushed back to joint fifth after a 75 on the Stadium Course; he is on the same score for the event (seven under) Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden.
For more about Q School Final Stage including interviews with some of the leaders, visit golfontheedge.co.uk