Wakefield tops 2010 class at Euro Q-School
Veteran Englishman Simon Wakefield graduated top of the class when he took the first card at the European Tour Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya, Girona, Spain.
Wakefield finished on 21-under-par for the six rounds, two shots ahead of Spain’s Carlos Del Moral. The 36-year-old began the day tied with Del Moral for the lead, but took the top spot courtesy of a 5-under 67.
“The first goal was to make the cut and then it was to finish top 30,” Wakefield said. “The position I’ve been in the last couple of days, it was like 2005 again, when I’d lost my card by a few thousand Euros and came out to qualifying school not feeling like I deserved to be there but put it behind me and finished second.
“It was so nice to go one better this time. I’ve had two or three second places on the Tour in recent times and lost in a play-off. I know this isn’t a tournament effectively but I’ve still had to win and I’ve broken my duck. This is as good as a win for me and I cannot wait to get home.”
Del Moral, who played on the same University of Oklahoma team as Anthony Kim, posted a 69 to claim runner-up honors.
Finland’s Mikko Korhonen took the third spot at 17-under, while England’s Adam Gee finished fourth after equalling the best score of the day. Gee, who was runner-up at the 2006 British Amateur, carded a 7-under 65 to move from 25th to at the start of the final round.
Former University of South Carolina player Florian Fritsch matched Gee’s 65 to finish with a share of sixth.
Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman was one of eight players in joint 11th at 12 under. Saltman, who earned the silver medal as low amateur in the 2005 Open Championship, had double reason to celebrate. Older brother Elliot finished joint 26th to take one of the 34 cards.
Former Iowa State player Jason Knutzon also earned a ticket for the 2011 European Tour. He shared 11th place with Saltman after a final-round 71. He was the only one of five Americans in the field to make the four-round cut.
Joakim Haeggman, 41, regained his tour card with a share of 11th place. Haeggman, a three-time European Tour winner, made history in 1993 when he became the first Swede to play in the Ryder Cup.
England’s Matthew Nixon was one of only three amateurs to make the four-round cut and the only amateur to earn a card. Nixon, winner of the 2006 British Boys Championship, also finished joint 11th.
There was good news for two other former U.S. college players. Former N.C. State player Steve Lewton finished in joint 19th place, while one-time Georgia State player Steven Tiley got one of the last cards.
As always, there was agony amid the ecstasy. English amateur Matthew Southgate dropped two shots in his last three holes to miss earning hsi card. Former Indiana player Jorge Campillo, who had started the sixth and final round in a share of fifth place, posted a 9-over 81 to slip to 55th position and miss out.
Many of the 34 players will begin the 2011 European season by playing in the South African Open next week at Durban Country Club.
The Class of 2010
1.) Simon Wakefield, 36, England – Has had five good seasons on the European Tour with a 54th place finish on the money list in 2007. No victories but two runner-ups, and two Challenge Tour wins.
2.) Carlos Del Moral, 25, Spain – Played on the same University of Oklahoma team as Anthony Kim. Two Challenge Tour wins. Finished 21st on this year’s Challenge Tour money list.
European Tour: Class of 2010
Get to know a few members of the European Tour's Class of 2010. After six rounds of qualifying school, 34 players earned earned tour cards for 2011.
3.) Mikko Korhonen, 30, Finland – Successful on his eighth trip to the Q School. Spent the last five years on Euro Challenge Tour with no wins, and 44th place on this year’s order of merit.
4.) Adam Gee, 30, England – Runner-up in the 2006 British Amateur Championship. Former member of the English Golf Union’s elite squad. Spent last four years on Euro Challenge Tour. First time holding a full European Tour card.
5.) Jaco Van Zyl, 31, South Africa – Nine-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, with four wins this year alone. Finished fourth on Sunshine Tour money list. Winner of the 2000 South African Amateur.
6.) Florian Fritsch, 25, Germany – Former player at the University of South Carolina. Turned pro last year and finished 31st on the 2009 Challenge Tour order of merit. Finished 123rd this year but only played seven times.
7.) Liam Bond, 40, Wales – Unheralded Welshman who has kicked around the British mini-tours for years. First time he’s held a full European Tour card on his 15th attempt.
8.) Andreas Harto, 22, Denmark – Won twice on this year’s Challenge Tour. His first win came as an amateur when he won the ECCO Tour Championship. He turned pro and then won in his third Challenge Tour event, the Roma Golf Open. Placed 50th on the money list.
9.) Romain Wattel, 19, France – Won on the Challenge Tour this year as an amateur, triumphing in the Allianz Europen Strasbourg-Gold de la Wantzenau. Made the cut in the French Open, finishing 32nd.
10.) Stuart Manley, 31, Wales – Got the winning point for GB&I in the 2003 Walker Cup. Finished 10th on Challenge Tour in 2007 to gain his full European card, but never held onto it in 2008.
11.) Tim Sluiter, 21, Netherlands – Only professional appearance this year came in the KLM Dutch Open on a sponsor’s invite. He finished 69th and earned €3,133.
12.) Lloyd Saltman, 25, Scotland – A two-time GB&I Walker Cup player (2005, 2007). Took the silver medal as leading amateur in the 2005 Open Championship. Counts the Lytham Trophy among his amateur triumphs. Hasn’t reached the heights expected of him.
13.) Joakim Haeggman, 41, Sweden – Three-time European Tour winner. Made history in 1993 when he became the first Swede to play in the Ryder Cup.
14.) Shaun Norris, 28, South Africa – One victory on the Sunshine Tour, the 2008 African Open. Had two top 10s on this year’s Sunshine Tour, including second in Vodacom Business–Stellenbosch event. Represented South Africa in 2001 Eisenhower Trophy.
15.) Victor Dubuisson, 21, France – Winner of the 2009 European Amateur Championship, which entitled him to pay in this year’s Open Championship. Missed the cut and turned professional after. Widely regarded as a future star.
16.) Jason Knutzon, 34, United States – Former player at Iowa State who turned pro in 1999. Finished 160th on the Nationwide Tour in 2009. A two-time Asian Tour winner. Played that circuit this year with one top-10 finish.
17.) Thomas Norret, 36, Denmark – Journeyman who turned pro in 1999 and has never held a full Euro Tour card. Won the Volvo Finnish Open in 2002 on the Challenge Tour.
18.) Matthew Nixon, 21, England – Won the 2006 British Boys Championship at Royal Aberdeen. Reached the semi-final of this year’s British Amateur. Played for England in Eisenhower Trophy.
19.) George Coetzee, 24, South Africa – Four-time winner on the Sunshine Tour. Spent one semester at the University of San Diego.
20.) Steve Lewton, 27, England – Won twice as a player at North Carolina State. Won the 2007 Avondale Medal and New South Wales Medal in Australia. Won second stage of Q-School. Finished 80th on this year’s Challenge Tour money list.
21.) Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, 28, Spain – Had a full European Tour card in 2009 after graduating at the 08 school, but finished No. 212 on European money list. Finished fourth in the 2008 Spanish Open, his best result in five years as a pro.
22.) Alexandre Kaleka, 23, France – Finished 20th on this year’s Challenge Tour with a win in Lyon, but returned to Q-School to try to improve status. Made 15 of 23 cuts on Challenge Tour this season.
23.) Fredrik Ohlsson, 31, Sweden – Had a full European Tour card this year and posted best finish in BMW International Open with 46th place. Only made five of 21 cuts and finished No. 214 on money list.
24.) Pedro Oriol, 24, Spain – First trip to Q School. Only played eight events on Challenge Tour this year. Made two starts on main tour, finishing 69th in Spanish Open.
25.) Wade Ormsby, 30, Australia – Fourth time he’s earned his card at Q-School. Finished 71st on the money list in 2005 but hasn’t been back on tour since.
26.) Manuel Quiros, 31, Spain – Held a full card in 2007, but finished 196th on the money list. Only made seven of 15 cuts on this year’s Challenge Tour.
27.) Sebi Garcia, 29, Spain – Born in England, but claims Spanish nationality. Sixth time at Q-School, and first time he’s been successful.
28.) Elliot Saltman, 28, Scotland – Older brother to Lloyd but doesn’t have the same pedigree. Spent past few years on British mini-tours.
29.) Eirik Tage Johansen, 28, Norway – Fourth time he’s gained a card at Q-School in the past five years. Finished 165th on European money list this year, making just nine of 22 cuts.
30.) Francois Delamontagne, 31, France – Has played the European Tour since 2005 but with little success. Finished 68th on money list in 2005. Also held full tour card in 2008 and 2009.
31.) Markus Brier, 42, Austria – Veteran European Tour campaigner with two European Tour wins, the 2007 Volvo China Open, and 2006 Austrian Open. Also has two Challenge Tour wins.
32.) Borja Etchart, 22, Spain – Limited professional experience with only 11 tournaments on Challenge Tour in last two years, making just three cuts.
33.) Steven Tiley, 28, England – Made a splash at this year’s Open Championship at St Andrews when he contended early on. Won the 2009 Egyptian Open. Former player at Georgia State.
34.) Roope Kakko, 28, Finland – Seventh-time lucky at Q-School. Won 2004 Volvo Finnish Open on Challenge Tour.