Ross Biddiscombe reports from the final day of the European Tour's Q School
Q School Final Stage round-up
by Ross Biddiscombe
It’s over for another year – the annual torture chamber of Q School and, yet again, the tragedies and triumphs were of the most exhilarating and frightening kind.
Aptly, the three joint winners at the 40th edition of the School included a 40-year-old – Ulrich Van Den Berg of South Africa. He shared the silver salver with Daniel Im of the USA and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui. Ten Englishmen got Tour Cards, including Ross McGowan, who finished fourth.
But the real drama was elsewhere, that is in the maelstrom of madness around the mark for the last few cards. Stuart Manley of Wales shot a best round of the day 66 to roar through the field for one of the 27 cards and his happiness was unbounded. Almost as good was another South African Justin Walters who reached the top ten from nowhere after a 67.
Superstars of the future Paul Dunne and Marcus Kinhult eased their way onto Tour next year with solid rounds and the Swede’s family and friends who watched his final putt promptly were all in floods of tears. That’s what Q School does. Englishman Chris Hanson must have thought his +6 meltdown would push him out of the top 25 and ties, but somehow he held on and claimed the very last Card.
But the disasters were many and varied. The worst was poor Dimi Papadatos of Australia who triple bogeyed the last to miss by a shot, a collapse that rivaled any from the past 40 years. However, one man’s miss is another man’s joy, because Dimi’s troubles took the mark for Tour Cards from -8 to -7 and that meant ex-Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari and early tournament leader Lukas Nemecz of Austria both got Cards.
I wanted plenty of action at PGA Catalunya to complete my Cruel School book and, thanks to the courage of 156 players here, I have another bunch of incredible stories to tell. Thanks, guys!
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