Former Oklahoma player Carlos Del Moral and Simon Wakefield of England share the lead heading into the final round of the European Tour Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya, Girona, Spain.
The pair is 16 under par, and one shot ahead of Alfredo Garcia-Heredia of Spain, and two ahead of Finland’s Mikko Korhonen. A group of five players share fifth place, including former N.C. State player Steve Lewton and English amateur Matthew Nixon, the 2006 British Boys Champion.
Del Moral, who played on the same Sooner team as Anthony Kim, posted the lowest score of the field on a day of exceptional scoring. The 25-year-old from Valencia returned a 7-under 65 to move from 11th place at the start of the day into the lead. It could have been even better, but he made two bogeys along with nine birdies.
Del Moral is making his sixth trip to the Qualifying School since turning professional in 2005. He got the third card in 2008 but didn’t hold onto it during the 2009 season, and was unsuccessful at the school last year.
He spent this year on the European Challenge Tour. Victory in the Russian Challenge Cup, his second Challenge Tour win following victory in 2006, earned him €28,000. However, the Spaniard couldn’t capitalize. He finished 21st on the Challenge Tour rankings, when one spot higher would have earned him a tour card. He missed that spot by just €558.
Wakefield returned a 5-under 67 to tie for the lead. The 36-year-old Englishman is making his eighth trip to Q-School. He has enjoyed five fairly successful seasons on the European Tour, with a best finish of 54th on the money list in 2007.
Veteran Joakim Haeggman also returned a 67 to shoot up the leaderboard. He moved from 42nd at the start of the day to 19th. Haeggman is a three-time European Tour winner. The 41-year-old made history in 1993 when he became the first Swede to play in the Ryder Cup.
Jason Knutzon, the only U.S. player to make it through to the last two rounds, returned a 3-under 69 and is in joint 12th place.
The top 30 players and ties after Friday’s final round graduate to the 2011 European Tour. Those at 9 under par and better currently occupy the top 35 places.