One of the most stressful & nervous weeks of my season comes right at the start of the year as I try and qualify for the EuroPro Tour again for 2017.
First stage Q school for me this year was held at The Players Golf Club, a club I know well as I played here last year, plus I have also won the Stiff Salver competition held there for the last two years.
It’s a must for me to qualify, you have to get to the finals a week later at Frilford Heath to improve your EuroPro Tour ranking category to enable you to play on the tour.
My opening 18 holes would see me playing the course in reverse order, off the 10th tee first
The first is a tricky par 3 all over water and I got off to the greatest of starts as I sent my tee shot into about 10ft of the flag and holed my putt for a opening birdie.
Better was to come at the 11th (normally a par 5) but EuroPro playing it as a par 4 when I nearly holed my approach shot into the green to set up a tap in birdie – now two under through 2 holes.
A par down the 12th, before another birdie on the par 3 13th and now I was 3 under par through my opening 4 holes.
A string of steady pars and no dropped shots saw me reach the turn in 32 shots still at -3 for the day.
Onto my back nine (course front nine) another par at the 1st – before my first bogey of the day on par 3 2nd.
Still 2 under par so no damage done, couple more steady pars before I found successive bunkers on the 5th & 6th to record two more bogeys. My score now back to level par , I now needed a solid finish to set me up for day 2 in a good position.
Pars on the 7th,8th,9th and day one was over, a round of level par and a overnight score left me in a tie for 6th place, 77 players trying to qualify with top 35 making it through
Now playing the course the correct way round, a difficult start as the wind and rain decided to join me on the opening few holes which saw me make a couple of bogeys to start with on holes 1 and 3.
I fought straight back and with birdies on the 5th and 9th I was still level in the comp and well inside the qualification places available.
Slightly different to yesterday as two holes I birdied on the opening day I now made bogey on the 11th and 13th, but I was still in great shape if I could finish the job off.
I made pars up to hole 16 before a wedge into 17 left me with another tap in birdie before another par on 18 and I was done!!
Rounds of 71 + 73 for +1 for the tournament and I had finished in a tie for 9th place and well inside the 35 qualifiers.
I now head to Frilford Heath next week to try and finish as high as possible to improve my ranking for the EuroPro 2017 season
Thank you all for your support and a special mention to my friends Graham Harris & Jack Seaman for caddying for me the last two days.
All the best Matt 🙂
Here’s the final leaderboard