Alejandro Cañizares and Zander Lombard shared the spoils on top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of this year’s Qualifying School Final Stage as 27 players earned European Tour cards.
Following six rounds at Lumine Golf Club South Africa’s Lombard and Spain’s Canizares could not be separated on 24 under par, and as is customary in the case of a tie in the event, the duo were crowned joint winners with no play-off taking place.
On a day of high drama in Tarragona several players made big moves to secure their playing privileges on the European Tour for 2019. South Africa’s Louis de Jager was the first to seal his spot in the top 25 and ties, firing a bogey-free score of 66 to progress from Q-School for the first time in five attempts.
Also making late charges into the European Tour places were Italy’s Filippo Bergamaschi and Chile’s Hugo Leon. Bergamaschi birdied five of his closing eight holes to make the top 25 on the number, while Leon bagged his only birdie of the day on the 18th to also go through on the mark – which was 16 under par.
Three-time European Tour winner Marc Warren bounced back from a bogey on the 17th with a closing birdie to take the 19th card, while Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan – the only amateur to make the cut this year – also squeezed through after a final round of 72.
Former Amateur Champion Scott Gregory, who hit headlines for shooting 92 in the opening round of the U.S. Open five months ago, claimed the 12th card after coming through all three stages of Q-School this year – one of seven players to achieve the feat this season.
“It was difficult for me, it’s been a weird two years coming over here and I couldn’t be happier. My future wife is pregnant and I’m going to be a father soon. There’s many good things happening at the moment.
“I’ve played in three Q-Schools now, it’s been a long time that has gone really quickly since I started on the Tour in 2006, and I knew my golf was there it just wasn’t happening the last two years. I had a couple of injuries, some personal things and golf wasn’t happening.
“And now, all those things are gone, and I can just play and focus on my game and get the confidence back hopefully. I’m over the moon.”
“It’s great having lost my card and now I’ve regained my rights its awesome. I shouldn’t have been here in the first place, but to come out strong and prove myself to be on the Tour it’s really amazing, I don’t have words for it right now.”
“I’ve usually had a lazy first half to the season but I’m going to try to do things differently this year and play as much as I can early in the year and try to get the numbers up early. I’m going to play four weeks on the trot and then four weeks back home at the beach with a few cocktails.”
"It is the first time I have been in contention for a card and I really underestimated how tough it is.
“You have no idea what you need to do and you have try and keep moving forward while trying not to make mistakes at the same time.
"It's not a pleasant way to play golf but obviously there is a reward at the end of it."
“It feels pretty good. It’s been my dream since I don’t know how old. I must say I’m really happy with that. It was a really difficult grind out there today but I managed to get it done in the end by working really, really hard.
“It was interesting to do it as an amateur. It was either making it to the European Tour or staying as an amateur. It was special because I’d either stay as an amateur for one more year or turn pro. It was a really drastic thing, the contrast between the two. It’s a dream come true, it really is.
“I’ve just got to keep on working hard. I’ve been playing pretty well throughout the three stages so I’m going to take a lot of positives into professional life.”
“It takes a lot out of you so I’m just over the moon. It makes up for a few of the things that I went through this year.
“I’m immensely proud of myself. I think I’d only been playing for a month after coming back from injury when I went to First Stage.
“It’s been a tough year with injury and I didn’t have my best day at the U.S. Open. I probably came under some unfair criticism so to do this not only proves it to myself but it proves it to them. It keeps a lot of people quiet.”