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Walton top player at European Q School

Ireland's Philip Walton, who holed the winning putt for Europe at the 1995 Ryder Cup, tees off this week in a field of 168 at the European Tour qualifying school finals in Spain.

Walton and the other hopefuls will be battling it out at the San Roque Club, Cadiz for 35 places on the 2005 European Tour.

Starting on Thursday, each competitor will play two rounds apiece over San Roque's Old and New Courses before the field is cut to the leading 75 and ties for the final two rounds.

On Sunday, the top 35 players will earn tour cards for next year.

The 42-year-old Walton, whose last European Tour victory came at the 1995 English Open, will be joined by 24 other former tour winners at San Roque.

Among those is Britain's Roger Chapman, who regained his playing privileges at the 1999 tour school after playing 18 consecutive seasons in the top flight in Europe.

"It's like 108 first holes of the (British) Open championship)," Chapman, 45, said of the rigours of qualifying school.

Englishman Chapman, who qualified for the European Tour for the first time in 1981, won the 2000 Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 years Open.

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