Thirty-seven players gained cards at this year’s European Tour Qualifying School in Girona, Spain, and form the class of 2012. England’s David Dixon took first card with a six-round total of 21-under 407, but as always there were good news and bad news stories.
Perhaps the best story of the week belongs to former Arizona State player Scott Pinckney. He was the only one of five Americans in the field to make the four-round cut. He looked like missing out on a card when he entered the final round in joint 66th place. However, he returned the low score of the day with a 65, including five birdies on the back nine to take the 24th card.
Pinckney was one of six players to gain a card after playing in all three rounds of qualifying. The others were Hans Peter Bacher, Wil Besseling, Emiliano Grillo, Adrian Otaegui, and Taco Remkes.
It was a good week for Dutch golf, too. All five players who made the cut – Besseling, Reinier Saxton Maarten Lafeber, Remkes, and Tim Sluiter – finished inside the all-important top 30
There were hard luck stories, too. Veteran Europeans Paul Broadhurst, Alastair Forsyth, Jarmo Sandelin and Joakim Haeggman all missed out. Spain’s Jordi Garcia fired a closing 77 when a 75 would have gained him a card. Former University of Minnesota player Antti Ahokas returned a closing 78. A 75 would also have given the Finnish player a ticket for the 2012 European Tour.
A total of 957 players took part in the Qualifying School. Of the qualifiers, 17 will be making their debuts on The European Tour next year, with Spaniard Adrian Otaegui the youngest rookie at 19 years and 24 days old.
Here’s the skinny on the class of 2012:
David Dixon, England, Age 34
Has now made eight appearances at the European Tour School. Won the 2008 Saint-Omer Open, a low key European Tour event. Best remembered for winning silver medal as low amateur at 2001 Open Championship.
Sam Hutsby, England, Age 23
Played in 2009 Walker Cup after reaching final of British Amateur. Second time in three years he finished second at Q School. Best Euro finish is eighth place at 2009 Castello Masters.
Andy Sullivan, England, Age 25
Helped GB&I win this year’s Walker Cup. Won this year’s Scottish Stroke Play Championship. European Tour rookie.
Richard Bland, England, Age 38
Made his eighth trip to Euro Q School this year. Finished 65 on 2010 money list. Best European finish is second in 2002 Irish Open. Also finished third in last year’s Avantha Masters.
Steven O’Hara, Scotland, Age 31
Member of the victorious 2001 GB&I Walker Cup team. Won the 2000 Scottish Amateur Championship. Had five top 10s in 2005, his best season on Euro circuit when he was 70th on money list.
Jordi Garcia, Spain, Age 21
Made his third trip to Euro Q School, but first time he’s succeeded in getting a card. Has kicked around Euro Challenge Tour for three years with little success. European Tour rookie.
Knut Borsheim, Norway, Age 24
Former Arizona State player who had seven top 10s in college career, and was 2009 Honorable Mention All-American. Played eight times on this year’s Euro Challenge Tour with best place finish of second in Kazakhstan Open to finish 30th on Challenge Tour money list. European Tour rookie.
Gary Orr, Scotland, Age 44
Two-time European Tour winner with both wins coming in banner 2000 year when he finished 10th on European Tour money list.
Emiliano Grillo, Argentina, Age 19
Youngest player to get Tour card at this year’s school. Attended IMG Leadbetter Golf Academy in Florida. Achievements include victory in 2009 Ping Invitational, 2010 Copa de las Americas and 2011 Terra Cotta Invitational. Two-time First Team Rolex Junior All-American (2009, 2010).
Guillaume Cambis, France, Age 23
European Tour rookie who won this year’s Alps Tour order of merit.
Branden Grace, South Africa, Age 21
Played on this year’s European Tour Challenge Tour where he placed 24th on money list with two top tens. Also had top 10s in three European Tour events co-sanctioned with South African Tour. Finished 9th on Sunshine Tour money list.
Joakim Lagergren, Sweden, Age 20
European Tour rookie. Played on this year’s European Challenge Tour money list with one top 10. Won second stage of Q School.
Thomas Norret, Denmark, Age 27
Gained a card at last year’s Q School but finished 155th on this year’s money list. Has now made nine trips to Q School.
Matthew Nixon, England, Age 22
Won 2006 British Boys Championship at Royal Aberdeen. Second year in a row he’s gained card at School. Finished 183rd on this year’s European Tour money list.
Bernd Ritthammer, Germany, Age 24
European Tour rookie. Played last two years on European Challenge Tour, and finished 34th on this year’s order of merit with best finish of third in Kazakhstan Open.
Warren Abery, South Africa, Age 38
Veteran player who has played most of his golf on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour where he has won six times.
Lloyd Kennedy, England, Age 26
First successful attempt at European Tour card after five failed trips. Finished 34th on this year’s European Challenge Tour.
Darren Fichardt, South Africa, Age 36
Has two wins on European Tour. Last one came in 2003 Qatar Masters when he finished 39th on the money list. Has 12 victories on Sunshine Tour.
Adrien Bernadet, France, Age 27
Fifth time lucky at the Q School. Played last three years on European challenge Tour with little success. Finished 59th on this year’s money list. European Tour rookie.
Agustin Domingo, Spain, Age 20
European Tour rookie. Played 14 times on this year’s Challenge Tour, with just one top 10 finish and 81st on money list.
Mikael Lundberg, Sweden, Age 27
Has played seven full seasons on European Tour, with best year of 63rd on money list in 2008. Has two victories, winning in Russia in 2005 and 2008. Also won three times on Challenge Tour.
Julien Guerrier, France, Age 26
Long hitting Frenchman who won the 2006 British Amateur Championship. Has now made six trips to Q School. Got his card for 2010, but finished 122nd on money list.
Adrian Otaegui, Spain, Age 19
European Tour rookie. Played seven times on this year’s Challenge Tour and made five cuts to finish 112th on money list.
Scott Pinckney, USA, Age 22
Former Arizona State player who counts Rory McIlroy as boyhood friend. Qualified for this year’s U.S. Open but missed the cut. Turned pro and played five events on this year’s Challenge Tour. Has signed with Chubby Chandler’s ISM group.
Alex Haindl, South Africa, Age 28
European Tour rookie. Has played mostly on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, where he has one victory, 2006 Suncoast Classic.
Wil Besseling, The Netherlands, Age 26
Finished 15th on Challenge Tour money list in 2008, when he had one victory. Played 23 times on main Tour in 2009 but finished 182nd on money list.
Matthew Southgate, England, Age 23
Was a member of original 2011 GB&I Walker Cup squad but turned pro instead of waiting for the match. Played 22 times on this year’s Challenge Tour and finished 26th on money list.
Peter Gustafson, Sweden, Age 35
Vied for European Tour rookie of the year honours in 2005 when he finished 46th on money list. Loves multi-coloured hats. Has made 10 trips to Q School, taking first card in 2004.
Reinier Saxton, The Netherlands, Age 23
Won the 2008 British Amateur Championship at Turnberry, defeating Tommy Fleetwood in final. Turned pro in 2009 but missed his card at the school. European Tour rookie.
Taco Remkes, The Netherlands, Age 27
Won three times on 2008 Challenge Tour to get his card for main tour in 2009. However, finished 195 on money list making just eight cuts from 31 tournaments.
Hans Peter Bacher, Austria, Age 25
European Tour rookie. Has seen limited action on Challenge Tour in last two seasons, playing just 12 events each season. Has made cut in half those events, with no top 10s.
Jamie Elson, England, Age 30
Attended Augusta State and played on victorious 2001 GB&I Walker Cup team. Nearly kept his tour status this year by playing well in limited starts, finishing 128th on money list.
Tjaart Van Der Walt, South Africa, Age 37
Attended Central Alabama Community College. Lives in Houston. Had limited starts on this year’s European Tour. Played seven times and made the cut in six for 143rd on money list. Finished 9th in Singapore Open, which got him into final stage of Q School.
Tim Sluiter, The Netherlands, Age 22
Got his card at last year’s Q School too but only finished 176 on this year’s money list, making 11 cuts from 22 events with best place finish of 18th.
Andrew Marshall, England, Age 38
Has made 10 trips to Q School. Was successful in 2002 and kept his main tour card for four straight seasons with best year in 2006 when he was 73rd on money list. Has two second place finishes on main tour.
Maarten Lafeber, The Netherlands, Age 37
Won the 2003 Dutch Open, his only European Tour win. Had 12 straight seasons on main tour until losing his card this year. Best year is 2005 when he had two seconds and placed 25th on money list.
Victor Riu, France, Age 26
First successful visit to Q School after five failed attempts. Played last three seasons on Challenge Tour with two runner-ups in last two seasons. Finished 7th in South African Open on main tour at start of the year.