The 2015 edition of The European Tour’s Qualifying School Final Stage once again provided emotional tales by the shedload, but few stories carried the same level of emotional weight as that of Mathew Southgate.
The Englishman endured a short but emotionally draining battle with testicular cancer in July, when he underwent surgery to remove the cancerous cells, ruling him out of the game completely for two months.
On top of that personal struggle, the Essex player’s two year old niece Hattie Seymour has also been battling Leukaemia and undergoing treatment at the Great Ormond Street hospital.
No wonder then, the 27 year old found it hard to talk through the tears and the emotion after he carded a two under par 70 to earn a return to The European Tour, having bravely come through all three stages of golf’s greatest marathon.
“I am over the moon,” he said. “It’s such a tough process to come through but I stuck at it and played exactly how I wanted to play.
“What’s going on at home is very tough, but to be able to put a smile on my family's faces, you just can’t beat that. I’ve matured a lot through my situation, through the cards I have been dealt, but I’ve always been a fighter. To get to the top level of golf again is absolutely fantastic."
Another emotional man at the conclusion of play was Huddersfield’s Chris Hanson. After turning professional almost ten years ago, the 30 year old struggled to make the breakthrough to the top echelons of the professional game.
After a difficult six over par final round 78, Hanson explained just how tough it has been for he and his family to continue chasing that dream, but he admitted it was all worth it after finally securing European Tour status for the first time.
“My dad passed away four years ago, he was such a lovely guy,” he said. “It’s been a really tough year at home financially too. My youngest daughter just turned one this week, another milestone missed, but that is the sacrifice you have to make in this game.
“I don’t know what to say. I thought I had lost it from my start today and thought I had no chance. I’ve got a card, whether it was the first card or the last card, I don’t really care, I have the opportunity to go and play for some big money.”