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Published on : Wednesday, November 23, 2016
The third and final qualifying stage for the 2017 Race to Dubai will take place at the Girona-based venue from November 12-17, 2016. Around 1,000 golfers participated in the first two stages, with only 156 making it through to the final qualifying stage. This year, the field once again proves European Tour qualifying is no respecter of reputations.
Spaniard Álvaro Quirós has won six times on The European Tour, with titles including the Dubai Desert Classic to his name. Italian Edoardo Molinari won the Johnnie Walker Championship in 2010 en route to a winning Ryder Cup appearance. But perhaps the most heart-wrenching appearance will be made by England’s Eddie Pepperell, who, after a disappointing second round at the Portugal Masters, where a double bogey on his final hole, cost the Abingdon golfer his place on the European Tour.
These players will grind it out with the other 156 hopefuls under the most intense pressure over six brutal rounds at PGA Catalunya Resort. The event marks the ninth successive year The European Tour has placed its trust in the resort’s demanding Stadium and Tour courses, co-designed by Neil Coles and Angel Gallardo, to identify Tour-calibre golfers.
“A Qualifying School Final Stage venue needs first-class practice facilities, excellent on-site accommodation but above all 36 holes that present a fair and demanding test,“ said Mike Stewart, The European Tour’s Qualifying School Director. “Whatever their status – and their success – we know every player in the field will respect the challenge PGA Catalunya Resort presents.
“That we have chosen PGA Catalunya Resort to host Final Qualifying since 2008, over some truly impressive options, is a measure of the regard we hold for this venue.”
Playing host to such an important event is just reward for a resort that was crowned the 2015 European Golf Resort of the Year by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), voted Spain’s Best Course since 2012 by Top100golfcourses.co.uk and positioned in the top three in Golf World magazine’s first ever ranking of Europe’s golf resorts.
“Over the years we’ve listened to player feedback to improve our understanding of what is needed from this stressful week,” added David Plana, CEO at PGA Catalunya Resort. “The courses have continued to evolve and are in pristine condition, while the players will again enjoy the superb practice facilities including Europe’s largest chipping and putting green.
“We can’t do much to ease the tension each player will feel. This year, though, they can perhaps draw on the many stress-relieving facilities in the Wellness Centre of our new five-star Hotel Camiral.”
The field will play two rounds on each of the resort’s courses before the field is cut to 70 – who will play two further rounds. The top 25 and ties qualify for next year’s Race to Dubai.