A RECORD entry, which includes Paul Lawrie’s son Craig, sets out at four separate venues in England today bidding to secure spots on this season’s PGA EuroPro Tour.
The Qualifying School for the third-tier circuit has attracted a total of 417 players – 64 more than last year and it is the first time it has exceeded 400.
Lawrie, who joined his dad in the paid ranks towards the end of last year, is among the hopefuls at Slaley Hall in Northumberland.
He’s the last man out today in a 96-strong line-up, which also includes former Walker Cup player Graham Rankin, Alps Tour winner Ross Kellett and, for the time being at least, Aberdour amateur Scott Crichton.
The field at Formby Hall in Lancashire includes some Scottish representation, too, including Downfield’s Ross Bell and the Bob Torrance-coached Graham Forbes.
Along with the other hopefuls, they’ve forked out £425 to try their luck – £250 to be a member of the circuit and a £175 entry fee for the Qualifying School.
The first stage – Woldingham in Surrey and The Players Club near Bristol are the other venues – is over 36 holes, with an estimated 180 spots up for grabs in next week’s 54-hole final at Frilford Heath in Surrey.
South African duo Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen both used the EuroPro Tour as a stepping stone to become major winners, while others to cut their teeth on it include Ryder Cup pair Ross Fisher and Nicolas Colsaerts, as well as Scott Jamieson, the Order of Merit winner in 2009.
This year’s circuit starts at The Belfry next month and also includes four Scottish stops, returning to Montrose Links and Mar Hall as well as visiting both The Carrick on Loch Lomond and Royal Burgess for the first time.