With the Staysure Tour Qualifying School less than a week away, we take a look at how the two-stage tournament, with five Staysure Tour cards up for grabs, has the power to change a golfer’s life.
The American had split his time between the PGA Tour and the then-Nationwide Tour between 1990 and 2000, but must have sensed a return to form after celebrating his 50th birthday because by the time he arrived at Qualifying School in 2017, he was ready to take on Europe’s best senior golfers.
A third-place finish at First Stage earned Dennis a place at Final Stage, which was held at Pestana Golf Resort’s Pinta Course. There, he finished in a three-way tie for second place, earning status on the Staysure Tour for 2017.
In a remarkable rookie campaign, the Texan recorded two wins, two runner-up finishes and an astounding total of eight top fives in 13 starts to run away with the Rookie of the Year award. However, more impressively, he became the first American to top the Order of Merit, winning the John Jacobs Trophy in the same year he earned his Staysure Tour card.
Dennis heads into the 2020 season, his fourth on the over-50s circuit, a five-time champion having earned €623,710.82 in that time—all thanks to the opportunity he earned at Staysure Tour Qualifying School.
In 2017 David Shacklady was delivering parcels at Christmas to make ends meet. Two years on, he is entering the 2020 Staysure Tour season as a three-time winner. There may be no telling how far the Englishman will go in his meteoric rise through the over 50s ranks, but we do know where it started— Staysure Tour Qualifying School.
In 2018, the Lancashire native made easy work of First Stage by finishing alone in second place to book his spot at Final Stage.
The man known as “Shackers” began the four round, pressure-packed test with rounds of 69-69 to take the halfway lead, but as Qualifying School approaches the end, things that once seemed routine can all of a sudden become very difficult. Shacklady navigated the pressure to close the tournament with rounds of 73-74, securing his dream job on Europe’s over 50s circuit by a single stroke.
Despite the close call, Shacklady was clearly bolstered by the overall result, as he went on to win during his rookie season before lifting multiple trophies in a 2019 campaign where he finished third on the Order of Merit.
Not unlike Shacklady, Paul Streeter successfully made his way through Qualifying School to earn a rookie season on the Staysure Tour in 2018.
The Englishman had some strong finishes over the summer months, but took things to a new level in the autumn, securing a maiden win at the Travis Perkins Masters in September. He finished as the runner-up at the Scottish Senior Open two weeks later, and then, in early December took down Spanish golfing icon Miguel Ángel Jiménez in a play-off to win the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Golf Masters. It was his second win during the same year he earned his card at Qualifying School, being crowned Rookie of the Year for 2018.
This year’s First Stage Qualifying School, and the battle for a life-changing season spent competing against the biggest names in European golf, begins January 24-25 at Gramacho Golf Course and Silves Golf Course in southern Portugal.