Kurt Kitayama, Romain Langasque and Zander Lombard lead the way at European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage after Day Five, which saw several players make crucial moves into the all-important top 25.
Lombard, who began the day in a tie for tenth place on 14 under par, dropped a shot on his opening hole but rebounded with a birdie on the next and seven more as he marched towards a seven under par 64 and a share of the lead.
France’s Langasque, who came close to earning his European Tour card through the Challenge Tour this year, kept his scorecard clean all the way around the Lakes Course at Lumine Golf Club, and now with only one round to go, appears poised to make a return to Europe’s top tier.
Kitayama will be in hot pursuit of his second Q-School win this year after topping the field at First Stage in France a month ago, and since then the American has been remarkably consistent, only carding three rounds in the 70s across the 13 Q-School rounds he has played thus far.
With the decisive final round of the marathon Q-School looming, Scotland’s Marc Warren has positioned himself in a familiar spot following a five under par round of 66, but sitting one shot outside the top 25, he will need to continue to score well if he is to return to the European Tour.
Anders Hansen, the oldest player in the Final Stage field, is proving the value of experience. Following a frustrating fourth round yesterday, the 48 year old hit the range for an extended practice session at a time when peers 20 years his junior were resting.
The Dane found what he was looking for, and his six under par 65 today has placed him in a tie for 15th place.
At the end of play tomorrow, the top 25 and ties will all earn their European Tour cards for the 2019 season, with the benchmark, a three-way tie for 24th place, currently sitting at 15 under par.
“I came into the week with a good category already for next year so I felt as though there was a lot less pressure on me coming into the week so I focused myself to give one hundred per cent on every shot.
“It’s a long tournament so if you miss some shots or make some bogeys it is not the end, and that is how I have approached this week and in particular that has paid off during the last two days.
“I have changed a lot this year, including my coach, and I have started to work with a mental coach. I only missed by a few spots on the Challenge Tour but I will continue to work on my game and hopefully I will keep putting myself in similar positions to where I am now.”
“It was just very solid. I had a sloppy little bogey on the first hole but from there I just stayed really patient and like any low round you don’t really plan it you just stick to your processes.
“I felt that I was just short of making the line so many times this year. Every time I seemed to have a good round I would go on to shoot an average one which would then kill the momentum and I’d miss the cut.
“It has been a building season for me, I have changed a lot of things in my game and it has been a learning curve for me because I realised that I can’t make it alone on raw talent.”
“I felt like it was a grind out there but I am very happy with where I am at. I was really solid today, I hit 17 greens, and to finish with a birdie is always nice too – hopefully I can take that momentum into tomorrow.
“These Q-School Stages are the first time that I have played in Europe, and so far it has been really good having this new experience.
“It would be amazing to get a European Tour card but there is still a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
“The last five days have been to give yourself a chance tomorrow. That’s all you can do and whether you’re outside or inside the mark you’ve just got to stay patient but keep moving forward at the same time.
“I feel as if I’ve been doing a pretty good job of that all week and I don’t see that changing tomorrow.”
“I was struggling yesterday. I was playing really well in rounds two and three, and then yesterday was a bit scrappy, so I was sort of trying to find a rhythm again.
“I’m really not too worried you know, it’s just another round of golf and we’ll just see what happens.”