The early morning sunrises over the 11th hole prior to the fifth round of the European Tour qualifying school final stage  (Getty Images)
The early morning sunrises over the 11th hole prior to the fifth round of the European Tour qualifying school final stage (Getty Images)

One of the true tests of golfing endurance gets under way this week as the battle for a coveted place on The 2016 Race to Dubai begins at The European Tour Qualifying School.

More than 900 golfers, all hoping to grab a dream European Tour card for next season, will take part in the demanding elimination process with the First Stage taking place over the next four weeks across eight different venues.

But for many, the journey begins this week in Germany and Scotland, with 101 players teeing it up at European Tour Destination Fleesensee G&CC and 83 at The Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course for Section A.

The 184 players will be looking to progress through to Second Stage, which takes place in early November across four Spanish venues.

After this week’s events, Section B will take place from September 22-25 at new English venue, Collingtree Park Golf Club, and Golf Club Schloss Ebreichsdorf in Austria.

From September 29-October 2, Golf d’Hardelot in France and Ribagolfe in Portugal host Section C while Frilford Heath, in England, and Italian venue Circolo Golf Bogogno then bring the First Stage to a close when they host Section D from October 6-9.

The successful qualifiers will move on to the Second Qualifying Stage, to be played from November 6-9 at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club in Alicante, Campo de Golf El Saler in Valencia, Lumine Golf & Beach Club in Tarragona and Panoramica Golf & Sport Resport in Castellon.

The drama will once again climax at the stunning PGA Catalunya Resort near Girona from November 14-19, when 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 2016 Race to Dubai.

The leading 25 players (plus those tied for 25th place) following the epic six round challenge will then earn Category 15 Membership of The European Tour for next season.

Last year, a total of 27 players, whittled down from 924 entrants, earned their stripes in the north-east of Spain with two players – playing a mammoth 252 holes over the course of the gruelling process – making it through all three Stages of the Qualifying School to gain a card – namely Tom Murray and Daniel Woltman.

Mikko Korhonen became the first Finnish winner of The European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage last November.

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