Nov 14, 2017: Shubhankar Sharma showed great character over the past few days to make the cut of the European Tour’s final stage qualifying event. After a dismal 75 & 73 in the first two rounds, Sharma rose like a phoenix to produce rounds of 68 & 67 to secure his spot for the last two rounds.
Simon Khan made the 72-hole cut at Qualifying School Final Stage to keep his dream of a European Tour return alive, with fledgling professionals Adri Arnaus and Robert MacIntyre also producing notable performances after four rounds of the golfing marathon.
After conceding ten bogeys in the first two rounds, Shubhankar showed terrific resolve on Monday to make just one bogey on his way to a 68. He went one better in the fourth round – firing five birdies without taking any losses to sign on a precious 67. Shubhankar is currently tied in 59th, needing some more of the same magic to inch his way up the order.
At the conclusion of 108 holes, the leading 25 players (and those players tied on the final qualifying place score) will be ranked according to score. Each of these players will be eligible for membership of the European Tour (category details to be confirmed) for the 2018 season and will be subject to any re-rank policy adopted by the Tournament Committee.
England’s Khan, a two-time European Tour winner, made the cut on the two under par mark after a three under par round of 68, with 74 players now set to contest the final 36 holes on the Lakes Course at Lumine Golf Club before the top 25 and ties secure Race to Dubai status for 2018.
Ahead of him, compatriot Sam Horsfield leads the way on 15 under par, one shot ahead of fellow Englishman Charlie Ford whose seven under par 64 was the round of the day in Tarragona.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Arnaus – who only turned professional this week – continued his excellent 2017 form, which already saw him win the Alps Tour’s Order of Merit.
The 23 year old reached five under par to comfortably make the cut, one of four Spaniards to do so on home soil, including Gonzalez Fernandez-Castaño – who has fellow seven-time European Tour winner Alvaro Quiros caddying for him this week.
Scotland’s MacIntyre was delighted to have secured himself a full Challenge Tour category for next season by making the cut just two months after he represented Great Britain & Ireland at the Walker Cup.
Another man happy to have secured Challenge Tour status was Jonathan Thomson, who will become the tallest player on the European Tour if he gets a card this week – standing at 6’9”, the Englishman is now in a share of third place on 12 under par.
“I gave it everything today. It was one of the toughest days I’ve known and I’ve played really well all week, holed a couple of putts today, and to shoot three under today, I’ve done all I can and I’m quite proud of myself,” said Khan.
“There are still 36 holes, a long way to go, and I’m going back a long way now but I remember San Roque in 2001 when I shot a 65 in the fifth round, so it can be done and I’ll try to draw on that – I know what I can do, it’s just about getting the putter a bit warmer.”