The clubhouse at Frilford Heath  (EuropeanTour)
The clubhouse at Frilford Heath (EuropeanTour)

Entries have opened for The European Tour’s Qualifying School as hundreds of players from across Europe and the world chase their dreams of playing among the game’s elite in the star-studded Race to Dubai.

The venues for the First Stage of the famous marathon of golf have also been announced, with the adventure beginning on September 9 when two separate venues in Austria and Scotland host the first action of the 2014 edition.

Seven venues in seven different countries – England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, France, Italy and Portugal – will then play host to more than 900 players between them in First Stage, before the battle for European Tour membership lands on Spanish soil for Second Stage.

For the first time in the history of Qualifying School, the same venue will play host to two separate sections of First Stage as the superb Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire offers up two superb championship tracks, the Red and Blue Courses, for Section B and Section D, respectively.

The drama will once again climax at the stunning PGA Catalunya Resort, where the qualifiers from the first two stages will be joined by experienced European Tour and Challenge Tour players as they all attempt to earn their playing rights on The 2015 Race to Dubai.

A total of 968 players entered The European Tour’s Qualifying School First Stage, with the number of entrants from the USA – 84 – almost doubling from the previous season as some of the brightest young American talents attempt to follow in the footstep of European Tour and Challenge Tour success stories Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein.

Mike Stewart, Director of The European Tour Qualifying School, said: “Once again, we look forward to another thrilling edition of Qualifying School, which provides one of the sternest tests and some of the most dramatic moments in golf.

“To have more than 950 players enter, all harbouring the same dream of claiming one of the 25 European Tour cards on offer, is quite a unique scenario and one which produces a real spectacle of golf, packed with emotion.

“Every year, the standard of the players entering improves and at The European Tour, we strive to reflect that with the ever-improving quality of course and organisation of this great event.

“We feel we have done that again this year and the news that Frilford Heath, a prestigious club that has become synonymous with Qualifying School in England, will host two separate sections of First Stage is a fantastic boost to the event.

“Qualifying School offers a fantastic opportunity for all budding professionals and amateurs across the globe to fulfil their lifelong dreams of playing among some of the biggest starts of the game on The European Tour. We wish all entrants the very best of luck.”

Golfclub Schloss Ebreichsdorf in Austria and Scotland’s The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course host the opening section of First Stage from September 9-12 before Section B takes place from September 16-19 at Frilford Heath Blue Course and Golf and Country Club Fleesensee, a European Tour Destination located in the north east of Germany.

Golf d'Hardelot in France and Italy’s Circolo Golf Bogogno will host Section C concurrently from September 23-26 before Frilford Heath’s Red Course and Ribagolfe in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon host the European Tour hopefuls from September 30-October 3.

Players who came through all three stages of Qualifying School last year included Belgian Thomas Pieters, who came close to a maiden European Tour title at the Open de España, only losing out in a play-off to Miguel Angel Jiménez.

American John Hahn, who has already registered a top three finish on The European Tour at the Africa Open in February, also began his journey in European golf at Qualifying School, winning First Stage at Fleesensee in September 2013 before going on to earn a rookie season on The Race to Dubai.

For Qualifying School First Stage entry forms, click here.

To follow The European Tour Qualifying School on Twitter, click here.

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