2005: PGA European Tour - Englishmen reign in Spain
England’s Tom Whitehouse earned the top card at PGA European Tour Qualifying School, thanks to a little fatherly advice.
Rounds of 70-66-72-71-72-68 for a 13-under-par 419 total over Spain’s San Roque Club helped the 25-year-old Whitehouse to a two-shot victory over countryman Robert Rock and the first-place check of 22,205 euros.
David Griffiths made it an English hat trick in the top three, finishing six shots behind the leader.
Whitehouse, who led from the second round on, already held a card by finishing 17th on this year’s Challenge Tour. However, he decided to try to improve his European Tour status by visiting Q-School, a move that paid off with his performance at San Roque.
“I have moved up about 34 spots on Category 11 (the tour’s priority status to fill fields),” Whitehouse said.
His decision to employ his father, Colin, as caddie for the six rounds also paid handsome dividends.
“I didn’t feel like I was playing that great coming here, but my dad was a massive influence,” Whitehouse said. “He just told me to relax and play the game. I was just so relaxed and I am delighted to have won.”
Sweden’s Jarmo Sandelin was among the notables who gained privileges for the 2006 campaign. Sandelin, a 1999 Ryder Cup player and five-time winner on the European Tour, earned the 10th of 32 cards with a closing 69.
Santiago Luna, another former European Tour champion, also regained his card. The 43-year-old Spaniard, who won the 1995 Madeira Island Open, finished 27th.
Former British Amateur champion Iain Pyman took the eighth card. Pyman, winner of the 1993 British Amateur, was making his fifth trip to Q-School.
Scotland’s David Drysdale left San Roque with the same feeling of disappointment he felt when he played his final tournament of the year. Drysdale finished the 2005 European Tour at No. 117 on the Order of Merit – 586 euros behind England’s Sam Little, who took the last card.
Little would have been at Q-School instead of Drysdale had he not won 33,120 euros Oct. 2 at the Dunhill Links Championship. Making it even more painful was the fact that Little replaced Drysdale at St. Andrews because Drysdale pulled out with an injury.
Poetic justice was not served at San Roque. Drysdale, 30, missed his card by a shot despite a closing 69.
“I think this sums the season up,” Drysdale said.
Malcolm Mackenzie, the 2002 French Open winner, also missed his card by a stroke, while two-time European Tour winner Patrik Sjoland missed out by two shots.
Former Oklahoma State standout Alex Noren also left San Roque disappointed, though it appeared he was on his way to a card after five rounds. A final-round 75 would have earned him a ticket to the 2006 European Tour. Instead, Noren shot 5-over 77 and faces a season on the European Challenge Tour.