The finale of the three-stage event, which sees 156 players battle for playing privileges on the European Tour in 2010 (the top 30 plus ties qualify), is being contested over six rounds on both the Tour and Stadium courses at the acclaimed 36-hole resort near Girona, north of Barcelona.
The Stadium Course was ranked the number three golf course in Europe by Golf Monthly magazine in spring 2009 and has consistently appeared in the top 10 of Golf World’s European Top 100 Courses for the past decade, while the Tour Course is ranked among the Peugeot Golf Guide’s Top 1,000 Courses in Europe.
Both courses provide a fitting venue for the nerve-jangling, season closing contest to win cards for the lucrative Race to Dubai with young hopefuls, including Germany’s Stephan Gross Jr, winner of the 2008 European Amateur Championship, and England’s Sam Hutsby, the 2009 Amateur Championship finalist, joining European Tour champions Emanuele Canonica, Ryder Cup player Joakim Haegmann of Sweden and veteran Spaniard Santiago Luna.
European Tour Qualifying School Director Mike Stewart said: “We are delighted to return to PGA Golf de Catalunya for a second year, following the success of last year’s event. We should applaud the club and its greenkeeping staff for the outstanding condition of both the Stadium and Tour courses, which is the result of the intensive maintenance regime implemented during the past 12 months. The Qualifying School Final is naturally a stressful week for the players, but at least they know the courses they are playing on will be in the best possible shape as they strive to reach The European Tour.”
Designed by Neil Coles and Angel Gallardo, PGA Catalunya Resort has a rich pedigree as a European Tour venue. Originally built by the Tour to host a Ryder Cup, it opened in 1999, hosting the Sarazen World Open won by Thomas Bjorn in the same year, and then the Spanish Open in 2000.
In May 2009, the Stadium Course once again hosted the Spanish Open, featuring John Daly, Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and the charismatic Frenchman Thomas Levet, the eventual winner.
Billy O’Sullivan, CEO of PGA Catalunya Resort, said: “It is an honour to be selected to host European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage for the second successive year and we look forward to welcoming all the players. Both courses are in outstanding condition and will provide a great test of golf.
“It has been a very exciting year for PGA Catalunya Resort, hosting a momentous Spanish Open in May and then seeing the launch of the first phase of our exclusive residences. Combined with the hotel and the convenient proximity of Girona-Costa Brava Airport, a major hub for Ryanair, PGA Catalunya is now the ultimate golf resort, and within a two-hour flight time of most European cities.”
PGA Catalunya Resort www.pgacatalunya.com