The European Tour Qualifying School Second Stage has concluded with 80 players progressing to the six-round Final Stage at Lumine Golf Club from November 15-20. We take a look at the dramatic Second Stage action and the players who earned their place in the final furlong for European Tour status.
Club Golf De Bonmont
Aron Zimmer led the qualifiers at Club Golf De Bonmont, where play was extended by two additional days due to adverse weather conditions. The Italian carded four sub-par rounds in testing conditions to finish two shots clear of 18-year-old Korean Minkyu Kim, who made history last year when he became the youngest player in history to win a European Tour-sanctioned event.
Iceland’s Bjarki Petursson was the only amateur to make it through Second Stage after charging up the leaderboard with a final round of 66 to finish in eighth position on six under par, while England’s Jonathan Thomson also left it late to secure his place at Final Stage, recording five birdies in his final nine holes to finish two shots clear of the cut off mark.
Former World Amateur Golf Ranking Number Two David Micheluzzi and First Stage Europe Section B Fleesensee winner Lauri Ruuska also safely navigated their way through Second Stage, with Robbie van West taking the 19th place in a three-man play-off before Frenchman Gary Stal was to wait until Tuesday morning to book his spot at Final Stage as darkness forced the action into a sixth day.
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club
Canadian Jimmy Jones topped the qualifiers at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, finishing one shot clear of 19-year-old South African Wilco Nienaber on eight under par. Jones, whose mother Dawn Coe-Jones won three LPGA Tour titles during a distinguished career, was the only player in the field to fire four consecutive sub-par rounds.
The pair will be joined at Final Stage by 18 further qualifiers, including Scot Craig Howie, who finished in third place at five under par, one shot clear of Swede Fredrik Nilehn, who peaked at ninth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking before turning professional, and German Hurly Long.
Other players to progress include Madalitso Muthiya, who will be bidding to become the first Zambian to secure European Tour playing privileges at Lumine Golf Club later this week and five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey.
Desert Springs Golf Club
Blake Windred stormed clear of the field at Desert Springs Golf Club despite a final round of four over 76 to finish five shots clear of his closest challenger Frenchman Sébastien Gros.
The 20-year-old Australian impressed on his maiden European Tour appearance earlier this year at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, where he finished in a tie for 12th and will be eyeing the opportunity to tee it up on the circuit on a regular basis when he tees it up at Final Stage later this week.
Two Icelanders, Gudmundur Kristjansson and Andri Bjornsson, were among the 20 players to qualify in Almeria, with four players; American Dodge Kemmer, England’s Garrick Porteous, JC Ritchie of South Africa and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, coming through a six-way play-off to earn their place in the field.
Norway’s Jarand Ekeland Arnoy earned medalist honours at Alenda Golf, holding his nerve despite frequent weather delays to secure his place at Final Stage on 11 under par. The 22-year-old finished one shot ahead of Frenchman Frederic Lacroix who is looking to step up to the big time after his maiden season on the Challenge Tour, who in turn finished four strokes clear of Isle of Man native Tom Gandy.
Two-time European Tour winner Julien Quesne’s hopes of a return to the top tier of European golf remain intact after the Frenchman came through a three-man play-off against Austrian Lukas Nemecz and Czech Republic’s Jan Cafourek to earn the 20th and final spot on offer at Alenda.