Vying for one of just 30 cards on offer for the lucrative Race to Dubai, 152 players, including multiple European Tour winners have been battling it out on our Stadium and Tour Courses over the past few days.
South African Branden Grace, currently in third position has enjoyed success on both courses, shooting under par on all four of his rounds. He said: “Both courses here are always in immaculate condition, especially the greens. There aren’t many golf clubs with better practice facilities than they have here either. It’s the perfect venue for a golf tournament.”
In November we officially opened our impressive new practice complex, including a 2,000 square-metre putting green and chipping area, with five bunkers each containing different sand types (Augusta, St Andrews, Hawaii volcanic, PGA Catalunya Stadium Course sand bunker and Pebble Beach). The area also includes a PGA Catalunya Tour Course grass bunker for practicing.
Former Walker Cup star Sam Hutsby, who leads on 16-under, added: “I was gobsmacked when I first saw the new practice facilities, they take the place to a whole new level. All the guys here have been blown away by the facilities – it’s the perfect place to come and practice your short game. It’s been a privilege to use them, and I’m sure they’ve helped me with my game so far this week.”
Julio Delgado, our Chief Executive, said: “PGA Catalunya Resort has invested heavily in ensuring we have the best practice facilities in Europe. To see the players utilising the practice ground and describing it as the best they’ve seen is a testament to the high quality of our facilities. The comments of the players this week further reinforce our reputation as one of the world’s best golfing experiences.”
One of the biggest movers on the final pre-cut round was Andrew Marshall, who climbed 25 places with a fine three-under-par round of 69 on the Stadium Course to see him safely through to the final two days. He said: “Both courses are good tests, lots of variation, very playable and in fantastic condition. Plus Girona’s a good spot, so you’ve got the complete golfing package. The 16th, 17th and 18th are really tough finishing holes on the Stadium Course – unless you’re on your game, you could easily make a bogey on all three. On the Tour Course you’ve got a lot more wedges and short irons for your approach shots so it’s a slightly different test. The practice facilities are great. I really like the pitching green and the bunker area – they’re absolutely superb, probably the best I’ve seen.”
Consistently voted as one of the best courses in the world the Stadium Course – once again listed in Golf World’s Top 100 Courses of the World this year – has seen its fair share of thrills and spills this week while the Tour Course has also seen tears of joy and despair as the field was cut to 70 following Tuesday’s fourth round.
Norwegian Knut Borsheim has had a week to remember shooting two hole-in-ones within 24 hours. Having aced the 141-yard Par 3 on the Tour Course during Monday’s round he repeated the feat on Tuesday on the 183-yard 16th on the Stadium Course.
Some well known names on the European Tour – including England’s Nick Dougherty, Scot Alastair Forsyth and five-time European Tour winner Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden – failed to make the grade as the cut was set at four-under.
The final two rounds of European Tour Q School Final Qualifying will be played over the Stadium Course, originally built by the Tour to host the Ryder Cup, and has previously hosted the Sarazen World Open and the Spanish Open.
Following the final two rounds the top 30 players – plus ties – will receive their European Tour cards to compete in the Race to Dubai 2012.