European Tour Q-School starts Saturday in Spain. The field of hopefuls includes several names familiar to American fans.
Two USGA champions who turned pro earlier this year – Byeong-Hun An, the 2009 U.S. Amateur champion, and Sihwan Kim, the 2004 U.S. Junior champion – are among those players. An played one season of college golf at Cal. Kim was a first-team All-American during his time at Stanford.
Patrick Reed, who led Augusta State to consecutive NCAA titles, also is in the finals. The Martinez, Ga., resident was a first-team All-American this past college season.
“Watching on TV all the different places they go and the different kinds of courses, I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” Reed said. “Watching Rory (McIlroy) and all the younger guys starting to come over here and do well kind of made me realize maybe they have something over there that we don’t.”
European Tour Q-School runs Dec. 10-15 at the PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain. The six-round event will be held on the resort’s Stadium and Tour courses. The 156-player field will be cut to the low 70 and ties after 72 holes.
All players who tie for 30th or better earn European Tour membership for 2012. The remainder of players who make the cut earn partial European Tour status and full status on the Challenge Tour, Europe’s equivalent to the Nationwide Tour. Players failing to make the cut earn lower status on the Challenge Tour.
Scott Pinckney, who was childhood friends with Rory McIlroy, also is in the field. Pinckney completed his career at Arizona State this past season, finishing 41st in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. He won the 2010 Trans-Mississippi Championship and qualified for this year’s U.S. Open. Pinckney, of Anthem, Ariz., is represented by Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management firm.
Trent Leon, of Fort Worth, Texas, also is in the final stage. He competed at Oklahoma State. Leon shot a final-round 65, including birdies on two of his final three holes, to advance out of second stage on the number.
Emiliano Grillo, an AJGA first-team All-American in 2009 and 2010, advanced to final stage in style. The 19-year-old Argentine shot a third-round 62 at his second-stage qualifier to advance to the finals.