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Golf News: - Posted 25th November 1997

Rain Creates Havoc for PGA Qualifying Tournament

San Roque, Spain - European PGA officials have been forced to cut the European Tour Qualifying School tournament, to four rounds instead of the scheduled six rounds, because of the constant torrential rain at both the San Roque and Guadalmina courses which are situated on the Costa del Sol.

The rainfall so far this month in southern Spain is four times the normal for this time of the year.

Andy McFee, the Tournament Director had been forced earlier to extend the tournament into the seventh day and then he decided to reduce it to just five rounds to cope with the almost daily deluge that
eventually saturated both venues. Today he was left with little option but to admit he was defeated by the weather.

"Following today's downpour the results of the Qualifying School will be determined over 72 holes," said McFee after torrential rain had permitted only two hours and 50 minutes of play at Guadalmina near Marbella.

"Every effort will be made to complete the fourth round which is in progress at Guadalmina on either Wednesday or Thursday.

"Both courses have been affected by today's downpour and need time to dry. Consequently, there will not be an opportunity to schedule a fifth round."

There were 37 players still out on the Guadalmina course when play was abandoned for the day at lunchtime. It is probable that only 30 of them will return to resume their rounds on Wednesday morning.

Of those only two or three have any chance of earning one of the top 40 and ties players' cards by improving their positions to level par or better by the finish.

Four players lead the reduced tournament on the eight-under-par 280 mark - Dutchmen Chris Van der Velde and Robert-Jan Derksen, Sweden's Fredrick Henge and Luton-born Phil Golding.

The pecking order in the cards is decided on the best last round or third round if necessary, which means that Van der Velde's closing 69 at San Roque, where he birdied two of the last three holes, earned him the No 1 card.

Henge (66 and 71) was placed second ahead of Derksen (67 and 71) and Golding (70 and 71).

Golding's bogeys at the 14th and 16th holes in his closing round cost him the top spot. Last year he finished 10th at the Tour School and failed to make enough money on this year's European Tour to keep his player's card.

New Zealander Michael Campbell, joint third in the Open of 1995 when he won over 440,000 in his rookie year, got the No 5 card on 282 and Aberdeen's big-hitting David Thomson, who finished with a 68 at San Roque, was placed sixth ahead of the others on five-under 283.

There are currently 40 players at level-par 288 or better.Outside this score is former Ryder Cup player, Paul Way and Gordon Sherry.Both have finished at three-over on 291.