Date: November 14, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies reach final Euro hurdle

A 12-strong contingent of Aussie pros will play for their immediate Euro futures this weekend.

The final stage of European Tour Q-school will be held across six gruelling rounds on two courses at the Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain, from Friday.

But while the Aussies remarkably comprise almost eight per cent of the 156-man field, they are all fighting to be among just the top 25 (and ties) who will walk away smiling with a 2020 card in hand.

Australia’s tilt spans from emerging youth to revitalised veterans, with some taking advantage of various exemptions straight into this third and final stage, with others having fought through earlier Q-school battles.

Fresh from stirring performances in high winds in Spain last weekend are second stage conquerors and newly minted pros Blake Windred, of Sydney, and Melbourne’s Dave Micheluzzi, who will be paired on the Hills Course in round one.

Micheluzzi said his focus would not be on simply gaining a card.

"You've just gotta try to win," the rookie pro said.

"It's easy to get caught up trying for 25 spots, but you need the mindset to win, because that mentality will allow you to focus on victory rather than a lesser goal."

Micheluzzi, who made three birdies in his closing four holes earlier this week in stage two to secure his spot in this field, said being close to a lifelong goal was nerve-wracking.

"We had delays and thought we might not have to go back out on course … so when we did, I was as nervous as I've ever been with seven holes to play," the Victorian said.

"But I responded well once I got going, and that was important to me for this week, I reckon.

"This week could obviously change your life and it has always been a goal of mine to play in Europe, but you can’t get caught up in thinking about that.

"You just have to stay in the moment and play golf like you're playing with your mates at home."

Others from that tough stage two path include gritty West Australian pair Ben Ferguson and Jarryd Felton, Victorian Deyen Lawson and New South Welshmen Jordan Zunic and Nick Flanagan.

Via various means directly into final stage are Queenslander Jake McLeod, Victorian Zach Murray, Tasmanian Simon Hawkes and New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos.

They’ll also be joined by veteran Perth champion Brett Rumford who, despite having six victories on the European Tour proper in his stellar career, is coming back from a nasty wrist injury and must do so the hard way.

The Lakes and Hills courses feature substantially different layouts, with poor weather tipped to provide an extra challenge.

All players will play each course twice in the first four days, before the top 70 and ties play the final two rounds on the Lakes.

The European Tour reports a record 842 competitors have gone through the Q-School process this year, with 28 nationalities represented this week.