Monday, 21 November 2016
Richard McEvoy at the European Tour's Qualifying School Final Stage  (Getty Images)
Richard McEvoy at the European Tour's Qualifying School Final Stage (Getty Images)

As the dust settles in Girona after 30 players earned European Tour cards at this year's Final Stage of Qualifying School, we delve a bit deeper in to the make up of this year's graduates.

A total of 967 players took part in the 2016 Qualifying School across the three stages. There were 767 who played at First Stage, they were joined by 119 players at Second Stage, with a further 81 exempt to the Final Stage.  This figure of 967 ranks third in the list of most entrants.

A total of 30 players (25 and ties) earned their full European Tour cards for the 2017 season.

There were five players who came through all three Stages of the Qualifying School to gain a card. They were: Nathan Kimsey (winner), Rafa Echenique (11th), Ashley Chesters (17th), Niclas Johnasson (28th) and Jamie Rutherford (29th).

There were eight players who were exempt into Second Stage and gained a card.

The remaining 17 players gained a card after being exempt into the Final Stage.

Of the 30 qualifiers, there will be 12 rookies on the 2017 European Tour.

Of the 30 qualifiers, nine were fully exempt European Tour Members in the 2016 season.

The 30 qualifiers were made up from ten different countries.

The breakdown of countries and players is as follows: England (14), Sweden (six), Argentina (two) and one each for Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea and Wales.

The youngest graduate was England’s Max Orrin, aged 22. The oldest graduate was Ricardo Gonzalez, aged 47, the second oldest competitor. (Markus Brier at 48 was the oldest).

Gonzalez also made Q-School history by becoming the oldest graduate ever aged 47 years and 24 days.

Winner Kimsey became only the second player to compete in all three stages and win the Final Stage, following Oskar Henningsson in 2008.

Kimsey also became the fifth English winner of Q-School since 2009, following Simon Khan (2009), Simon Wakefield (2010), David Dixon (2011) and John Parry (2012).

Of the 30 qualifiers, seven are European Tour winners: Gonzalez, Edoardo Molinari, John Parry, Y.E. Yang, Tom Lewis, Richard S Johnston and Mark Foster. These also include one Ryder Cup player (Molinari) and one Major winner (Yang). (There were 36 European Tour winners who began the Qualifying School Final Stage).

Two former Qualifying School winners gained their cards, Richard McEvoy (2003) and Parry (2012).

Two former Challenge Tour Number Ones gained their cards, Molinari (2009) and Espen Kofstad (2012).

Two players, Stuart Manley and McEvoy both graduated from the Qualifying School for the sixth time in their careers. (Philip Golding holds the record for most successful number of visits to the Final Stage, having graduated seven times).

Matthew Nixon gained a card after being the last man in the field. He was the fourth alternate.

There were 35 players who played in both First Stage and Second Stage and got through to the Final Stage. Of the 35, 15 made the cut at the Final Stage.

The lowest final round from the 30 graduates was Gonzalez, who shot 64, the lowest round of the week on the Stadium Course.

Winner Kimsey produced the lowest round of the tournament, a fourth round 61 on the Tour Course.

Seven players gained a card after starting the last day outside the top 25. They were Kofstad, Gonzalez, Laurie Canter, Jaco Ahlers, Echenique, Sebastian Heisele and Gary King. Seven players began the final day inside the top 25 but failed to gain a card.

The biggest movers during the final the day were King (39 places – 64th-25th) and Heisele (34 places – 53th-19th).

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