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Cut day drama at Q-School

Round Four Report

Simon Khan made the 72-hole cut at Qualifying School Final Stage to keep his dream of a European Tour return alive, with fledgling professionals Adri Arnaus and Robert MacIntyre also producing notable performances after four rounds of the golfing marathon.

England’s Khan, a two-time European Tour winner, made the cut on the two under par mark after a three under par round of 68, with 74 players now set to contest the final 36 holes on the Lakes Course at Lumine Golf Club before the top 25 and ties secure Race to Dubai status for 2018.

Ahead of him, compatriot Sam Horsfield leads the way on 15 under par, one shot ahead of fellow Englishman Charlie Ford whose seven under par 64 was the round of the day in Tarragona.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Arnaus – who only turned professional this week – continued his excellent 2017 form, which already saw him win the Alps Tour’s Order of Merit.

The 23 year old reached five under par to comfortably make the cut, one of four Spaniards to do so on home soil, including Gonzalez Fernandez-Castaño – who has fellow seven-time European Tour winner Alvaro Quiros caddying for him this week.

Scotland’s MacIntyre was delighted to have secured himself a full Challenge Tour category for next season by making the cut just two months after he represented Great Britain & Ireland at the Walker Cup.

Another man happy to have secured Challenge Tour status was Jonathan Thomson, who will become the tallest player on the European Tour if he gets a card this week – standing at 6’9”, the Englishman is now in a share of third place on 12 under par.

Player quotes

Simon Khan

“I gave it everything today. It was one of the toughest days I’ve known and I’ve played really well all week, holed a couple of putts today, and to shoot three under today, I’ve done all I can and I’m quite proud of myself.

“There are still 36 holes, a long way to go, and I’m going back a long way now but I remember San Roque in 2001 when I shot a 65 in the fifth round, so it can be done and I’ll try to draw on that – I know what I can do, it’s just about getting the putter a bit warmer.

“It’s been a really odd year. It’s been my first time without a full European Tour card for 15 or 16 seasons and you see things from the other side, it’s tough.

“Getting calls late, not really knowing your schedule, not knowing what’s going on really. I haven’t had any momentum or felt like I’ve got anything going.

“Normally my ball striking is the strongest part of my game and even that hasn’t been there this year, but this week I came out really early and I just started getting it going – I’ve been hitting it probably the best I’ve hit it in a few years actually. It would be great to get a card now and kick on with this next year because I’m feeling good again.”

Robert MacIntyre

“It has been my goal to make the cut and get on to the Challenge Tour so everything is a bonus from here on in.

“The first four days were going to be an absolute grind so I just said to myself ‘if you make the cut you have achieved something’. I am now within touching distance of getting the full card.

“I played really well late on in my amateur career but I have actually struggled quite a lot this week. Tee to green I have been really poor but my short game saved me.

“When you are having an off-week you need the short game to be there, so with two rounds to go I am just going to see what happens.

“This year has been a slow progression. My whole career has been moving in the right direction and this is just the next step.”

Adri Arnaus

“It has been great season for me. I was really happy with my performances throughout the year on the Alps Tour, where I won the Order of Merit on the last event, but I thought it was a good time to turn pro this week and that here was the best place to do it.

“I have been playing really good this week. I have made a couple of mistakes each day, but hopefully I can cut those errors out over the last two days.

“I feel that I have a really good chance over the last two days and to get a European Tour card would be very special.”

Jonathan Thomson

“It was good out there today. I got off to a great start again by holing a few decent putts, but then I made a double bogey at the 13th which knocked my confidence a bit. I just stayed patient though as I knew that I could get a few more coming home.

“It has been a really good four days for me. My game has been in decent shape over the last few months so I came here in a very good frame of mind.

“The goal at the start of the year was to get off playing on the EuroPro Tour. I have achieved my goal by making the Challenge Tour, but I am now going to push on to try and get on to the European Tour.”

Sam Horsfield

“I played pretty solid last week at Second Stage and the courses this week have just really suited me. I felt really confident coming in and I feel like my game is in a really good place right now so I just want to keep it going over the next two days.

“I haven’t really looked at a leaderboard all week. I left a few out there today – I think I hit 17 greens in regulation so I had a lot of opportunities. I just need to keep doing this over the next two days, make some putts and I will hopefully be alright.”

Scores after Round Four:

271 S Horsfield (Eng) 69 68 66 68;

272 C Ford (Eng) 73 69 66 64;

274 J Thomson (Eng) 67 72 68 67; C Blomstrand (Swe) 72 69 67 66; B Evans (Eng) 69 66 68 71;

275 C Syme (Sco) 72 73 63 67; J Janewattananond (Tha) 74 71 65 65;

276 K Broberg (Swe) 70 71 67 68; G Moynihan (Irl) 69 72 67 68; M Baldwin (Eng) 71 69 68 68;

277 J Heath (Eng) 72 68 68 69; J Winther (Den) 67 67 72 71; L Canter (Eng) 71 64 67 75; A Pavan (Ita) 65 68 71 73;

278 P Widegren (Swe) 69 72 68 69; N Geyger (Chi) 67 74 69 68; T Murray (Eng) 70 63 75 70; C Braeunig (Ger) 70 70 67 71; A Hansen (Den) 71 71 69 67; J Kruyswijk (RSA) 71 71 70 66; M Millar (Aus) 74 67 69 68; G Stal (Fra) 64 71 73 70; M Schwab (Aut) 71 69 67 71; M Foster (Eng) 67 72 68 71;

279 H Sturehed (Swe) 67 71 71 70; K Johannessen (Nor) 71 69 67 72; T Lewis (Eng) 75 69 68 67; N Kimsey (Eng) 68 73 70 68; J Quesne (Fra) 69 72 69 69; D Law (Sco) 68 73 70 68; G Fernandez – Castaño (Esp) 72 70 69 68; S Heisele (Ger) 72 67 70 70; J Edfors (Swe) 70 72 70 67; A Knappe (Ger) 69 72 69 69;

280 S Gros (Fra) 70 69 74 67; M Nixon (Eng) 70 71 70 69; P Angles (Esp) 73 70 69 68; R Macintyre (Sco) 67 71 71 71; C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 69 69 72 70; F Aguilar (Chi) 73 70 68 69; Ó Serna (Mex) 68 72 67 73; O Lindell (Fin) 73 71 66 70; J Munro (Aus) 69 71 69 71; S Manley (Wal) 69 68 70 73;

281 R McGowan (Eng) 72 71 68 70; M Schneider (Ger) 68 74 71 68; K Samooja (Fin) 73 69 69 70; A Arnaus (Esp) 70 70 71 70; J Walters (RSA) 75 71 66 69;

282 J Geary (Nzl) 72 71 72 67; M Iten (Sui) 74 70 67 71; H Leon (Chi) 73 72 69 68; M Lafeber (Ned) 68 73 73 68; R McGee (Irl) 72 73 70 67; P Maddy (Eng) 77 68 70 67; P Howard (Eng) 73 66 74 69; L Gagli (Ita) 71 73 66 72; C Lloyd (Eng) 68 71 71 72;

283 S Sharma (Ind) 75 73 68 67; A Hall (Aus) 73 69 70 71; P Mejow (Ger) 69 70 74 70; J Huldahl (Den) 67 75 69 72; E Johansen (Nor) 68 73 72 70; S Tiley (Eng) 72 70 68 73; E Park (Kor) 72 72 66 73; S Vincent (Zim) 72 72 69 70;

284 J Hansen (Den) 72 73 70 69; S Webster (Eng) 69 74 73 68; M Armitage (Eng) 71 71 74 68; A Michael (RSA) 73 71 66 74; A Cañizares (Esp) 73 73 70 68; S Khan (Eng) 72 71 73 68; S Henry (Sco) 78 69 68 69; K Koivu (am) (Fin) 70 70 72 72;

285 M Fenasse (Fra) 73 70 69 73; J Carlsson (Swe) 76 68 72 69; E Ferguson (Sco) 74 70 69 72; M Giles (Aus) 76 66 71 72; M Lundberg (Swe) 74 70 70 71; R Kellett (Sco) 77 67 69 72; Å Nilsson (Swe) 71 69 72 73;

286 R Kakko (Fin) 69 78 70 69; B Easton (RSA) 69 73 75 69; T Cocha (Arg) 74 71 71 70; A Garcia-Heredia (Esp) 76 72 68 70; R Gonzalez (Arg) 71 73 69 73; R Green (Aus) 74 72 69 71; C Nilsson (Swe) 77 70 67 72; M Ford (Eng) 74 72 72 68; G Forrest (Sco) 73 72 71 70; J Rutherford (Eng) 72 72 70 72; E De La Riva (Esp) 73 71 71 71; O Wilson (Eng) 67 74 73 72;

287 C Sharvin (Nir) 74 74 67 72; L Nemecz (Aut) 70 73 72 72; M Jonzon (Swe) 72 73 71 71; E Di Nitto (Ita) 76 70 70 71; T Tree (Eng) 72 72 72 71; D Papadatos (Aus) 71 73 68 75; J Dean (Eng) 69 74 72 72; H Otto (RSA) 70 71 76 70; O Gillberg (am) (Swe) 73 75 67 72;

288 S Gregory (Eng) 73 74 70 71; R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) 72 75 70 71; A Blyth (Aus) 71 71 73 73; D Huizing (Ned) 73 72 70 73; F Dreier (Den) 72 74 76 66; P Pittayarat (Tha) 70 70 72 76; J Parry (Eng) 70 76 70 72; M Lampert (Ger) 73 72 71 72; N Fasth (Swe) 72 69 75 72;

289 D Brown (Eng) 71 74 73 71; J Van Der Vaart (Ned) 69 74 75 71; J Erkenbeck (USA) 73 73 76 67; J Veerman (USA) 71 70 75 73; M Orrin (Eng) 72 72 71 74; S Dyson (Eng) 77 68 73 71;

290 J Vecchi Fossa (Ita) 67 71 75 77; J Fernandez-Valdes (Arg) 78 70 70 72; N Cullen (Aus) 73 72 72 73;

291 C Doak (Sco) 73 71 74 73; D Foos (Ger) 72 73 73 73; D McElroy (Nir) 74 75 69 73; J Arnoy (Nor) 70 68 76 77; R McEvoy (Eng) 70 78 73 70; J Lima (Por) 74 69 75 73; B Hafthorsson (Isl) 73 72 74 72;

292 F Fritsch (Ger) 75 74 68 75; A Rosaye (Fra) 72 77 71 72; A Rozner (Fra) 69 81 74 68; S Soderberg (Swe) 71 75 74 72;

293 B Ritthammer (Ger) 82 71 70 70; J Stalter (Fra) 70 76 74 73; M Madsen (Den) 77 73 70 73; S Hutsby (Eng) 74 74 75 70;

294 R Enoch (Wal) 74 77 72 71; M Kim (Kor) 76 74 74 70; T Sinnott (Aus) 74 73 77 70; M Trappel (Aut) 73 76 72 73;

295 J Brun (Fra) 72 71 75 77; L Vaisanen (Fin) 77 74 72 72;

296 A Meronk (Pol) 79 72 73 72; R Petersson (Swe) 73 73 68 82;

297 J Sjöholm (Swe) 71 73 75 78; R Dinwiddie (Eng) 73 73 72 79; M Salminen (Fin) 71 72 78 76;

299 D Stewart (Sco) 78 72 69 80

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Sordet seals season-ending victory in Oman

Tournament: NBO Golf Classic Grand Final – Venue: Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman

Clément Sordet claimed a memorable second victory of the season at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final as Scott Fernandez and Bradley Neil dramatically clinched European Tour cards on the final day of the 2017 European Challenge Tour season.

The top 15 in the season-long Road to Oman Rankings will play in the Race to Dubai next year and there was much movement throughout the fourth round at Al Mouj Golf, with Sebastian Heisele and Robin Sciot-Siegrist ultimately the two to drop out of the European Tour places in the final week of the season.

Estanislao Goya and Oliver Lindell were two others who were inside the top 15 in yesterday’s projected rankings but endured difficult days as the wind picked up off the Sea of Oman, ultimately sharing 11th place – not enough to hold those European Tour positions.

Fernandez and Neil both turned in 33 to climb the leaderboard but started to falter on the back nine, each bogeying the 17th before making impressive pars on the last hole in the knowledge that a dropped shot would be costly.

They took the 14th and 15th cards for next season, Neil finishing 4,436 points ahead of Heisele for that final position, and they will both now embark on rookie seasons on the European Tour.

By contrast, Sordet’s progress to a fourth Challenge Tour title seemed relatively serene.

The Frenchman stretched his overnight lead to four shots with two early birdies and, with the charges of Erik van Rooyen and Goya falling away, he walked down the 18th with a two-shot lead.

A comfortable par saw him sign for a two under par round of 70 and a 15 under par total, taking the 25 year old to second place in the Rankings, with Marcus Kinhult the runner-up and Fernandez and van Rooyen sharing third place on 12 under par.

The round of the day came from Jens Dantorp, whose blemish-free 66 secured the Swede his European Tour card in a share of fifth place and concluded a remarkable fortnight following his victory in last week’s Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge.

Meanwhile, Tapio Pulkkanen was crowned Challenge Tour Number One, the first Finn to achieve this honour, with the 2017 graduates ultimately finishing like this:

Player quotes:

Clément Sordet

“It feels great. I have been playing really good lately and to finish the season with the win is amazing.

“I played pretty good today. It was really tough not to think about the score and what the other guys were doing around me but I focused on doing my own job and I am really, really happy.

“It was definitely the best win of my career and it is the highlight of my career so far. To finish in the top 15 was my main goal at the start of the year and to finish the season second in the Rankings feels great.

“I am going to take two weeks off and enjoy some time at home then I will be ready for next season.”

Bradley Neil

“After I bogeyed 17, I didn’t really know what to expect coming up the last or where I was standing. I didn’t have a clue what was going on and I was just delighted when that last putt dropped.

“I was actually pretty excited today. After going out in three under, it was actually in my hands, I wasn’t having to shoot an amazing back nine and I was playing well.

“It was really tough to focus on my game and I had to be really strong mentally to focus on what I had to do. It’s been a long, long season and it was horrible to come into the week in 16th place and unable to relax, but it was worth it now.”

Scott Fernandez

“I am thrilled as it is a dream come true. I am really excited for what comes next.

“The job is done and it is a great finish to a great year. You know it is going to be a long day from the start, you know there are going to be a lot of emotions, and I started off a little nervous.

“I held my nerve throughout the day – especially on the 17th where I made the best bogey of my career. I hit my second shot into the high rough and after getting out from there I still had 30 yards to the green – but I put my approach to eight foot and holed out.

“That was crucial and I used that momentum to finish well on the 18th. I was left with a tap in for par which was probably the easiest way to make a Tour card in history.

“I have been fighting off a virus throughout the week but I have been able to fight through that and everything else to get the job done.”

Tapio Pulkkanen

“It’s nice to be in the history books. Some great names have won the Challenge Tour Rankings in the past and it’s a great pleasure to now be part of that team.

“After I won in Kazakhstan, winning the Rankings became my goal. I played really well in China to put myself in a good position to do that but it was really important for me to finish it off here.

“I’ve been here for more or less four years and it’s been up and down for me – obviously it’s been very up this season! I hope I can continue this next year but it’s been a good training ground and I have improved so much from playing on the Challenge Tour.”

MUSCAT, OMAN – NOVEMBER 04: Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland poses with the Road to Oman Rankings Trophy during Day Four of the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final – European Challenge Tour at Al Mouj Golf on November 4, 2017 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Final Scores:

273 C Sordet (Fra) 68 67 68 70,

275 M Kinhult (Swe) 68 68 71 68,

276 S Fernandez (Esp) 69 69 68 70, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 70 71 66 69,

278 T Linard (Fra) 68 67 71 72, J Dantorp (Swe) 70 71 71 66,

279 N Cullen (Aus) 67 70 71 71, P Oriol (Esp) 69 70 71 69,

280 D Huizing (Ned) 70 70 71 69, B Neil (Sco) 69 72 70 69,

281 O Lindell (Fin) 69 65 70 77, A Meronk (Pol) 67 69 75 70, E Goya (Arg) 67 66 72 76,

282 A Rai (Eng) 68 71 71 72, M Schwab (Aut) 71 69 74 68,

283 S Heisele (Ger) 70 68 73 72, J Heath (Eng) 68 71 72 72, R Evans (Eng) 69 72 71 71,

284 L Gagli (Ita) 70 72 70 72,

285 J Guerrier (Fra) 71 72 69 73, G Porteous (Eng) 71 70 69 75, O Farr (Wal) 68 71 76 70, R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) 72 72 72 69, T Murray (Eng) 70 76 69 70, J Arnoy (Nor) 71 70 71 73, C Mivis (Bel) 70 73 67 75, O Lengden (Swe) 67 72 75 71, G Moynihan (Irl) 70 73 73 69, A Saddier (Fra) 70 76 69 70,

287 M Tullo (Chi) 70 71 69 77, R McEvoy (Eng) 71 75 69 72, V Perez (Fra) 77 73 70 67,

288 C Koepka (USA) 75 72 71 70,

289 J Girrbach (Sui) 75 72 72 70,

290 T Pulkkanen (Fin) 71 83 69 67, N Von Dellingshausen (Ger) 71 77 73 69,

291 B Hafthorsson (Isl) 76 73 71 71,

293 J Sjöholm (Swe) 72 71 79 71, S Brown (Eng) 75 73 73 72,

295 M Ford (Eng) 79 71 71 74,

296 G Forrest (Sco) 70 72 78 76,

297 P Howard (Eng) 77 73 76 71, C Ford (Eng) 73 73 74 77,

300 M Madsen (Den) 76 76 75 73,

** M Lundberg (Swe) 76 RT 0 0

 

The European Challenge Tour is ‘Where Heroes Are Made’. Since its inception in 1987, it has developed into a proven training ground, where the champions-in-waiting battle worldwide on the Road to Oman to make it to the end-of-season NBO Golf Classic Grand Final and gain a potentially life-changing card for the European Tour.

Many players have progressed from the Challenge Tour and gone on to become Major Champions – including Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen – and Ryder Cup stars, such as Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters and Brooks Koepka.

Today, the Challenge Tour carries a total prize fund in the region of 6.5 million Euro during a season encompassing more than 25 tournaments across three continents.

Using its vast international schedule and relationships with golf federations and PGAs, it is widely accessible to professionals from across the globe, giving players from developing golfing nations the opportunity to test their skill amongst some of the most talented up and coming stars in world golf.

The competition is fierce, testing players’ ability and character to the limit. A times, it can be a stern examination, but those who do make the grade know that the chance of fame and fortune awaits.

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