(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

From an initial entry list of 156 golfers, five rose through the ranks to secure their cards for the 2017 season during a thrilling Final Stage of European Senior Tour Qualifying School in Portugal. Here is an introduction to the successful quintet…

Brendan McGovern

The Irishman returned to the Qualifying School to secure his playing rights for the 2017 season, despite an encouraging 29th placed finish on the Senior Tour Order of Merit during his debut season.

The 51 year old earned his card in 2016 after finishing third at Q-School, but he secured his position for the 2017 season with a superb wire-to-wire victory. He started his final round just one shot ahead of the chasing pack, but pulled clear to win by six shots.

McGovern recorded five top 20 finishes during his first season on the over-50s circuit.

Clark Dennis

Making his second appearance at Senior Tour Qualifying School, Dennis was determined to make the most of this opportunity.

In 2016, the American took first place at Gramacho Golf Course during First Stage Qualifying, but finished outside the top 20 at Final Stage on the Vale da Pinta course at Pestana Golf & Resort.

Level par after the first two rounds a year on, he carded the lowest round of the tournament on the Wednesday, a seven under par 65 to move into contention – a round he described as ‘one of the best rounds I’ve played in quite a few years’. He may have closed with a two over par final round of 73, but it was enough to earn a share of second place and a card for the 2017 season.

One of his main aims for the 2017 season is to play at the Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex: “The only Major I didn’t play was The Open , so I really want to make up for that and take part in the Senior Open this year.”

Gary Rusnak

The second American to successfully navigate Qualifying School in 2017, Gary Rusnak will make a return to the Senior Tour after enjoying full seasons in 2014 and 2015.

Limited to one appearance last season, Rusnak was determined to leave Q-School with a card in his hand for 2017.

Rusnak carded rounds of 68-71-70-70 to finish the week five under par and in a share of second place.

Peter Wilson

The youngest of this year’s Qualifying School graduates, he was encouraged to take part in this year’s Qualifying School by his coach at Modderfontein Golf Club, South Africa – it was his first appearance at any European Tour event.

A four over par second round of 75, didn’t discourage Wilson as he carded consecutive rounds of 69 on Wednesday and Thursday to finish five under par. That earned him a share of second place and a card for 2017.

Jean Pierre Sallat

The Frenchman will take part in his 13th season on the European Senior Tour in 2017 after securing the final card at this year’s Q-School.
Sallat has been a regular on the Senior Tour since turning 50. Spent 12 years as a professional footballer for French sides Bordeaux and Le Havre, he hung up his boots in 1983 and turned his attention to golf.

He turned professional in 1986 and competed on the European Challenge Tour during the 1990s.

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