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On a dramatic cut day at The European Tour’s Qualifying School Final Stage in which American John Hahn carded a stunning 58, Matt Ford (Pictured by Getty Images) motored into the lead as the Englishman remains on course to avoid having to supplement his golf career with a winter job as a postman.

Ford has recently applied for a job with Britain’s postal service the Royal Mail, having struggled for form on the Challenge Tour this year, but a four under par fourth round of 68 moved him to the summit on 13 under and put him in the driving seat for a rookie season on The European Tour.

The 36 year old was one shot clear of World Number 75 Anirban Lahiri and 17 year old Italian Renato Paratore, but it was Hahn who stole the headlines as he carded an incredible 12 under par round on the par-70 Tour Course at PGA Catalunya Resort.

While the Ohio native was playing with preferred lies at the sun-kissed European Tour Destination, and therefore will not go down in The European Tour’s history books, he was over the moon with his first ever sub-60 round.

“It probably hasn’t hit me yet,” said the 25 year old. “But when I’m sat in bed tonight it probably will. It’s a great thing. I respect the history of golf, and to shoot a number in the 50s doesn’t happen very often so to be able to do it – I’m proud of myself. It’s a cool thing.

“I just kept my foot on the pedal all day, and I think I had two stretches of five and four birdies apiece, which were good, but with all things considered it was perfect conditions, and we were playing ball in hand (preferred lies).

“So it definitely was more scoreable today, but it was a great day. I hit it well all the way around, I putted great, and I’m happy with the result.

“I think there are always points in your career where you say ‘put that one in the memory banks’. I did that when I needed to and you can always draw on those experiences in the future. Maybe when you’re struggling or when you are in a similar position you can think back and say ‘Hmm, I can do this!’”

Leader Ford may well have taken 10 shots more than Hahn, but his 68 over the more difficult Stadium Course may well prove a career-changer – quite literally – as he eyes a maiden season on The European Tour, having sounded out a job outside golf after a disappointing 2014 campaign.

“To be honest it was a bit of a surprise when I stepped onto the 16th green and saw my name at the top of the leaderboard,” said the Swindon-born player. “It wasn’t really my focus to get up to the top, I was just making sure to keep it going to make the cut.

“I have only made it to the Final Stage once before and this is the first time I’ve made the cut. I have missed out quite a few times in Second Stage so I was happy to just make sure I was here for the final two days.

“Today I probably had the least amount of birdie opportunities I’ve given myself this week, but I made the putts that I gave myself and holed a nice 40-footer for eagle at the 15th.

“I applied for a job with the Royal Mail and it still hasn’t been confirmed yet, it’s just being finalised. It’s just a Christmas job for December but I might have a more important job at hand soon so I may not be able to do it.

“I haven’t earned much money on the Challenge Tour this year so it was a back-up plan because I’ve got a young family at home and I need to keep the money coming in. It’s quite strange because ever since I did that, I’ve started playing better golf.

“It might be the fear factor; that I don’t want to do that. This is what I want to do. It’s maybe a reality check that if I don’t do it out here on tour, that is what I will have to do.

“I’m not going to think about The European Tour yet. I have to just keep going the way I have been. If I shoot two more rounds under par then I’ll be there.”

Paratore, meanwhile, is on course to become the youngest player to qualify for The European Tour via Qualifying School in 32 years after the two-time Junior Ryder Cup player and Youth Olympic individual gold medal winner carded a three under par 69 on the Stadium Course to join Lahiri in a share of second place on 12 under.

Further down the leaderboard, there was joy and heartbreak in equal measure as 78 players made the cut, which fell at one under par after four days of the gruelling six-round marathon.

Hahn’s round moved him from four shots outside the cut line, up 93 places to a share of tied 12th, while South African Justin Walters climbed 63 places courtesy of an eight under 62 on the Tour Course to make it to the final two days’ play.

Walters’ compatriot Trevor Fisher Jnr fell to a five over par 77 on the Stadium Course to drop outside the cut line and end his week in tied 90th position, while Australian Marcus Both bogeyed the final hole on the Stadium Course to miss the qualifying mark by a single shot.

Big names to miss out included Nick Dougherty of England and Swede Johan Edfors, both three-time European Tour winners, while Lee Slattery also dropped out after day four having just missed out on retaining his card by a single place, after finishing 111th in The 2014 Race to Dubai.

Golf Scores:

271 M Ford (Eng) 74 64 65 68;
272 R Paratore (Ita) 67 70 66 69; A Lahiri (Ind) 65 68 66 73;
273 P Oriol (Esp) 70 66 68 69; M Korhonen (Fin) 72 65 65 71; P Edberg (Swe) 73 62 63 75; R Gonzalez (Arg) 68 68 65 72;
274 R McEvoy (Eng) 73 65 64 72;
275 R Karlberg (Swe) 67 68 67 73; E De La Riva (Esp) 71 68 69 67; C Lloyd (Eng) 72 66 66 71;
276 C Gloet (Den) 64 74 66 72; J Hahn (USA) 67 79 72 58; P Maddy (Eng) 67 72 68 69; S Manley (Wal) 66 72 67 71; L Jensen (Den) 69 74 67 66; J Parry (Eng) 68 68 71 69; T Murray (Eng) 76 64 63 73; E Cuartero Blanco (am) (Esp) 74 65 66 71;
277 A Pavan (Ita) 69 67 70 71; E Kofstad (Nor) 72 67 64 74; J Lagergren (Swe) 66 72 69 70; C Paisley (Eng) 70 69 68 70; A Marshall (Eng) 69 71 69 68; C Del Moral (Esp) 68 74 65 70;
278 B Åkesson (Swe) 72 68 63 75; J Makitalo (Fin) 66 74 71 67; M Delpodio (Ita) 68 68 71 71; K Phelan (Irl) 69 72 65 72; K Ferrie (Eng) 66 75 65 72; C Bouniol (Fra) 72 68 67 71; R Gouveia (Por) 74 68 64 72; S Soderberg (Swe) 67 70 67 74; A Otaegui (Esp) 67 71 68 72; M Orrin (Eng) 69 73 66 70; D Im (USA) 66 73 69 70;
279 D Dixon (Eng) 68 72 65 74; P Widegren (Swe) 70 71 68 70; A Tadini (Ita) 72 67 69 71; A Dodt (Aus) 66 71 68 74; M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 70 66 67 76; P Lawrie (Irl) 71 67 67 74;
280 J Guerrier (Fra) 69 71 71 69; J Hansen (Den) 71 71 64 74; S Thornton (Irl) 68 69 67 76; W Homan (USA) 77 68 70 65; S Walker (Eng) 66 71 68 75; B Virto (Esp) 77 63 67 73;
281 J Knutzon (USA) 66 76 67 72; M Soegaard (Den) 67 73 68 73; B Evans (Eng) 73 68 66 74; P Whiteford (Sco) 77 66 65 73; P Archer (Eng) 68 74 72 67;
282 J Fahrbring (Swe) 74 70 71 67; S Kim (Kor) 73 67 67 75; M Jonzon (Swe) 69 73 68 72; J Walters (RSA) 73 70 77 62; D Stewart (Sco) 67 76 71 68; J Scrivener (Aus) 77 64 67 74; A Ahokas (Fin) 66 76 71 69; G Porteous (Eng) 80 64 69 69; A Velasco (Esp) 69 74 68 71; G Lockerbie (Eng) 76 67 70 69; J Huldahl (Den) 67 79 70 66; S Fallon (Eng) 72 65 71 74; G Maybin (Nir) 74 71 72 65;
283 D Coupland (Eng) 76 70 69 68; N Geyger (Chi) 66 74 66 77; F Andersson Hed (Swe) 76 69 72 66; D Woltman (USA) 72 72 71 68; M Schneider (Ger) 72 74 72 65; S Gros (Fra) 67 75 67 74; A Saddier (Fra) 66 73 71 73; S Henry (Sco) 70 72 68 73; E Goya (Arg) 71 68 71 73; S Griffiths (Eng) 76 68 67 72; J Gonnet (Fra) 68 73 70 72; L De Jager (RSA) 73 68 69 73;

CUT

284 P Hedblom (Swe) 74 69 74 67; V Riu (Fra) 75 66 71 72; J Lara (Esp) 72 74 68 70; M Both (Aus) 70 69 71 74; H Joannes (Bel) 75 70 72 67; W Harrold (Eng) 71 74 74 65;
285 J Stalter (Fra) 69 74 70 72; B Seuk-Hyun (Kor) 67 75 68 75; S Chawrasia (Ind) 71 72 69 73; C Pigem (Esp) 77 69 72 67; J Kunzenbacher (Ger) 78 68 73 66;
286 T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 67 75 67 77; S Heisele (Ger) 78 66 78 64; A Björk (Swe) 72 70 72 72; D Markle (Can) 70 72 73 71; R Kellett (Sco) 70 70 67 79; M Wiegele (Aut) 74 69 68 75; N Kimsey (Eng) 70 74 74 68; B Ritthammer (Ger) 76 69 71 70; D Huizing (Ned) 76 69 73 68; G Cambis (Fra) 69 79 69 69; C Shinkwin (Eng) 73 70 74 69;
287 W Booth (Sco) 80 65 76 66; B Hafthorsson (Isl) 74 73 68 72; R De Sousa (Sui) 71 75 74 67; H Shun Yat (Hkg) 67 74 71 75; T Tree (Eng) 71 73 74 69; L Kennedy (Eng) 79 66 74 68; S Wakefield (Eng) 72 72 73 70; B Hellgren (Swe) 75 68 75 69; G Houston (Wal) 70 78 71 68; N Elvira (Esp) 71 70 72 74;
288 A Bernadet (Fra) 75 75 71 67; B Parker (Eng) 67 77 71 73; M McGeady (Irl) 71 75 70 72; G Drakeford (Aus) 71 72 73 72; J Glennemo (Swe) 76 70 75 67;
289 A Knappe (Ger) 74 69 73 73; D Ulrich (Sui) 76 74 72 67; H Porteous (RSA) 71 75 76 67; A Hortal (Esp) 72 71 74 72; L Slattery (Eng) 75 70 72 72;
290 Z Lombard (RSA) 77 74 70 69; M Rocchi (Fra) 70 76 75 69; M Bremner (RSA) 80 70 70 70; D Løkke (Den) 73 75 72 70; N Quintarelli (Ita) 79 66 76 69;
291 T Sluiter (Ned) 74 74 74 69; J Billing (Swe) 71 76 73 71; R Kakko (Fin) 72 74 71 74; B Hemstock (Eng) 77 70 75 69; R Coles (Eng) 70 73 77 71;
292 K Subregis (Fra) 69 81 72 70; M Southgate (Eng) 70 80 74 68; M Brown (Nzl) 84 70 71 67; N Dougherty (Eng) 68 77 76 71; P Howard (am) (Eng) 70 81 75 66;
293 J Edfors (Swe) 66 77 77 73; N Chaudhuri (Eng) 73 68 75 77; J Lucquin (Fra) 75 72 70 76;
294 O Bekker (RSA) 75 77 74 68; J Winther (Den) 73 69 79 73; T Linard (Fra) 80 70 77 67; R Santos (Por) 72 72 78 72;
295 O Henningsson (Swe) 80 76 71 68;
296 R Davies (Wal) 73 71 80 72;
298 R McGowan (Eng) 68 78 79 73;
301 J Wilson (Aus) 71 79 79 72; J Wahlqvist (Swe) 81 69 74 77; A Canete (Arg) 71 79 74 77;
302 N Floren (Swe) 83 68 80 71;
303 B Ninyette (Aus) 77 74 81 71;
999 I Garrido (Esp) 70 77 77 RT; P Price (Wal) 73 78 79 WD; J Elson (Eng) 71 73 83 WD; S Dodd (Wal) 79 67 72 RT; D Papadatos (Aus) 78 67 79 WD; J Remesy (Fra) 72 WD 0 0;

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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