British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar emerged as one of 48 players to advance to the second stage of European Tour Qualifying School at venues in England and Germany.
The Northern Irish player scraped through the first stage at Wychwood Park Golf Club in Crewe, England, despite a closing 5-over 77. Earlier scores of 75, 66 and 75 gave the 23-year-old a four-round total of 5-over 293. His performance was good enough to finish T-20 along with two other players, with only 23 advancing to second stage.
Dunbar, who won this year’s British Amateur Championship at Turnberry, has said he probably will decline his Masters invitation if he gets a European Tour card. The Portrush native has to survive 10 more rounds to get a European Tour card. He faces four rounds at second stage, followed by six rounds at final stage.
Sweden’s Alexander Bjork led the way in Dunbar’s qualifying section. He posted a four-round total of 4-under 284 to take the top spot by two shots over Ireland’s David Higgins and England’s Jamie Howarth.
Former Stanford player Dodge Kemmer also advanced to second stage. He finished T-9 out of the field of 91 players. Other notables to make it though at Wychwood Park included former GB&I Walker Cup players Michael Stewart of Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell and Iain Pyman.
Former U.S. Walker Cup player Jonathan Moore failed to advance. Moore, who got the winning point for the United States in the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down, failed to make the 54-hole cut. Northern Ireland’s Paul Cutler, a member of the 2011 GB&I Walker Cup team, also failed to make the 54-hole cut.
Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen led the field at Fleesensee Golf & Country Club in Germany. The amateur posted a 19-under 269 score to take the top spot. Ireland’s Niall Kearney, a member of the 2009 GB&I Walker Cup team, tied for 19th to advance to second stage.
Four more tournaments will be held over the two weeks before first stage is finalized. Second stage will be held in Spain on Nov. 7-10, with final stage taking place Nov. 24-29 at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain. The top 35 and ties from final stage will gain cards for the 2013 European Tour.