Seven Aussies into Second Stage of DP World Tour Q School - PGA of Australia

Seven Aussies into Second Stage of DP World Tour Q School

Seven Australians have qualified for the Second Stage of DP World Tour Qualifying School following a gripping final day at Rosebud Country Club in Victoria.

Cool conditions and winds that gusted to as much as 35km/h ensured that a tense final round would be punctuated by ebbs and flows.

Victorian Tom Power Horan began the day with a two-stroke advantage but gave it up instantly with a double bogey at his opening hole.

He dropped another shot at the second, ensuring the race for a spot in the top five plus ties would go down to the 72nd hole.

At one point as many as nine players were tied for fifth or better, ultimately seven finishing at 6-under or better to earn a place at Second Stage in Spain from November 3-6.

Rosebud local James Marchesani’s 71 and four-round total of 10-under par was two better than Power Horan (74), day one leader Blake Collyer (68) responding to a double bogey at 14 with successive birdies to finish outright third at seven-under.

South Australian Lachlan Barker’s four-under 67 was the round of the day and earned the 23-year-old a share of fourth alongside Linus Yip (68), John Lyras (69) and Kyle Michel (72).

Holder of a card on the PGA TOUR-China circuit at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Marchesani’s path back to an international tour has been blocked for the past two years.

He – and his six fellow Aussies – now have direct access to the next stage of DP World Tour Q School and the opportunity to play their way onto the main tour in 2023.

“The last two years we’ve had, you didn’t really know where the golfing world would come out the other side,” said Marchesani, who had two top-five finishes in PGA TOUR-China events in 2019.

“I had status on PGA TOUR-China and things were looking great. I was prepped to go back up and fire again and try and get that Korn Ferry (Tour) card and then everything stopped.

“My status was cancelled and I wasn’t really given any other options outside of that.

“Q schools were closed for two or three years all around the world so it was a really weird period where you just had to tread water, keep your game good enough and wait for things to happen.

“It’s great that the DP World Tour has come down here to give the Aussie guys that opportunity of heading over there.”

Magnificent seven (l-r): Tom Power Horan, Lachy Barker, Linus Yip, James Marchesani, Blake Collyer, Kyle Michel and John Lyras.

Currently working with PGA Professional Brandon Rave, Marchesani will now spend the next two months preparing for Second Stage and – hopefully – Final Stage directly afterward.

Marchesani began his final round with six straight pars before holing a curling downhill putt across the par-3 seventh green for birdie.

A bogey at eight and birdie at nine saw him turn in one-under, back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 effectively sealing his progression to Second Stage.

“I made a nice birdie on 14 which was probably a settler and then a nice two-putt birdie on 15,” he added.

“I didn’t look at the score until I walked off the tee on 18 and it was nice to know coming down 18 that I had a couple shot lead.

“Winning is nice and it’s a good measurement of where my game’s at. I’ve put in a lot of work the past five or six weeks and under the pump at Q School are generally the hardest weeks to play golf.”

As Marchesani endeavours to play his way back onto a world tour, Barker came from the clouds to bring a DP World Tour card within reach less than two months after turning professional.

After spending four years on the Iowa State University golf team, Barker turned professional after moving through First and Final Stage of ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Q School in July.

Five over through his first 10 holes this week, Barker picked up four shots in the space of three holes on the back nine on Friday to earn one of the final spots.

Coached by Adrian Wickstein in Adelaide, Barker hit 9-iron to 12 feet to set up eagle at the par-5 15th, made a five-footer for birdie at the par-5 16th and took on a difficult pin at the par-4 17th to pick up the final shot he would need to advance.

“Read it, rolled it, holed it,” he said of his birdie putt at 17.

“I blacked out for a few holes. Everything I planned, I did, which was really good to see.

“Going into today I was three or four out of where I needed to be so I framed myself to free things up.

“I knew it was going to take a really good round to get it done so maybe take a couple more chances than you would normally.

“The only hole I was stressing on was 18 because I came home strong and I was like, You know what, I’m a chance now.

“It’s good to prove to yourself, that you can pass the toughest job interview going around.”

Click here for final scores. Second Stage of DP World Tour Q School will be played across four venues in Spain from November 3-6.

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