How many European Tour wins does a caddie need to have? For Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, the answer, coming into the Final Stage of European Qualifying School, is seven, with friend and compatriot Alvaro Quiros carrying the bag around Lumine Golf Club.
Fernandez-Castaño is no stranger to the winner’s circle himself, matching Qurios’ haul of victories, and is back in Europe after relocating to America for the last few years looking to regain his European Tour playing rights this week.
The 37 year old first gained his European Tour card at Q-School 13 years ago, winning in his maiden season to be named 2005 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, and is targeting another successful week in the six-round marathon in Tarragona.
I've probably got the most overqualified caddie here - we have 14 European Tour victories between the two of us!
“I’m feeling good about it,” he said. “I’ve only played Q-School once, back in 2004, so it’s been a while for me but it’s good to be back.
“It’s been part of my plans since the beginning of the year because I want to go back to being a European Tour member. Even though I’m mainly living and playing more in the USA, it now makes sense with the new regulations of only having to play four tournaments.
“I think it’s going to be a fun week, especially having Alvaro on the bag – it’s going to be interesting so I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve probably got the most overqualified caddie here – we have 14 European Tour victories between the two of us!
“Having Alvaro on the bag, not just for being such an experienced player and knowledgeable guy but also having a friend on the bag for such an important week, where patience is going to be key, I think that’s going to help a lot and make it as fun as playing Q-School can be.”
Fernandez-Castaño has endured a difficult season, making only nine cuts across the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour across the Atlantic, but is hopeful that his experience can shine through this week.
“I don’t really know what to expect as I haven’t been playing too well recently,” he said. “It’s a six day tournament so it’s different to any other tournament you play throughout the year.
“I guess experience might be an important factor and if there’s one thing I have here, it’s experience – I may not have the game, but I definitely have that! Hopefully that will help.
“I remember before when I played, I checked the leaderboards after four rounds and I saw my name within the top 30 but there were still two days to go! And it’s not just two days, it’s probably the two most important days in your golfing career.
“I think in such a long week it’s important not to overdo it or get too tired before it even starts, practising too much, so you need to manage it properly if you want to be on top at the end of the week.
“The courses here are in great condition, I love them – to be honest, I was not expecting it to be as good as it is. It’s going to be fun, especially in these windy conditions, so it’s sure to be interesting.”