It was a very dramatic day for the nine-strong Irish contingent attempting to get a tour card in the European Tour Q school. At the end of the second stage, only two Irish golfers will go forward to the final -where just 25 of the remaining 72 players will earn a place in the professional European tour. It will be a six-day slog for the two Irish players involved - Brian Casey, and Open hero Paul Dunne.
There were four different tournaments as part of the second stage of Q school, with Irish representation spread out across the four courses, with 18 spots available at each course.
Casey had a relatively easy day in qualifying, adding a 67 to earlier rounds of 65, 68, and 64 was enough for Casey to win the stage at Panoramica. Casey's total of -24 was 13 shots clear of the target that was needed. It wasn't as good a day for Colm Campbell Jr, and Jack Hume who both missed out on the final stage. Hume's wonderful 63 was only enough to get him into a play-off, but it was his earlier rounds of 72, 70, and 72 that hurt his chances.
It was almost as dramatic over in Lumine, where Gary Hurley, Paul Dunne, and Alan Dunbar all outside the necessary top 18 at the beginning of the day. Hurley could only manage a 71 to finish three shots outside of the cut-off, while Dunbar was a shot behind on -6. Dunne however pulled of a massive round to drag himself into contention.
At the end of the day, Dunne was in a six-man playoff for the final two spots, finally claiming a spot after six playoff holes:
Wasn't easy but delighted to get through second stage of Q School. Only took 6 playoff holes. Thanks for all the messages. #EuropeanTourCard
— Paul Dunne (@dunners11) November 9, 2015
It wasn't as good for the other Irish players, all of which were out of contention before the day started. Both Gavin Moynihan and Michael McGeady had days to forget at Campo de Golf, finishing well outside the cut-offs, while Rory McNamara didn't have the huge day he needed to pull back the defecit at Las Colmas.
Dunne and Casey will now compete in the final six-day stage at the PGA Catalunya resort, from November 14th to 19th.
Picture credit: Bill Murray / SPORTSFILE