The 2015 Qualifying Series
The 2015 Qualifying Series opened up in style with two events in three days in South Africa. 2014 Grand Finalist, Aldo Molezzi, struck the first tee shot of this year’s Series at the opening event at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club – host venue of seven South African Opens on the European Tour, whilst 60 guests competed at the Nicklaus designed Pearl Valley Golf Club in Cape Town.
A 180-person field contested a double shotgun start event at Doha Golf Club, another European Tour venue before the first month of the Series concluded with events in Mumbai and New Delhi.
Kuwait hosted its inaugural TAWGC event at the Sahara Kuwait Golf Club on the 3rd April before 100 players took to the links at DHA Golf Club, Karachi. Dubai was next up with a return to the Emirates Golf Club whilst April also featured events in Los Angeles, Seoul and Beijing.
May was a busy month for the Series, with 13 qualifiers taking place in three continents around the world. It started with a visit to the spectacular Clearwater Bay Golf Club, Hong Kong, with the first event on German soil, at the Golf Club Wörthsee in Munich also taking place on the same day. Events in Dublin and Madrid quickly followed, as did another new event at the prestigious Golf Club of Houston. The Asian mini-series was in full swing in May with over 400 competitors going to battle in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Guangzhou and Jakarta, whilst the action continued on the European front in Frankfurt, Kiev, Vienna and Geneva.
June was even busier than May as over 1,000 guests took part in 14 separate events, opening with another double-header, in Lyon and Copenhagen. Five more events took place within five days, with an ever popular re-visit to Pestovo Golf and Yacht Club, Moscow sandwiched between qualifiers in Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin and Stockholm. We visited two more world class venues on Thursday 11th June, Wentworth Golf Club in London and Le Golf National, host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup, in Paris. Cologne, Lisbon and Bilbao all found their Grand Finalists in June whilst Chicago and New York took the number of American qualifiers to eight already.
Just as in 2014, July opened with two big events in Italy’s two big cities. Golf le Rovedine hosted our Milan qualifier and three days later, Circolo Golf di Roma Aquasanta hosted Rome’s. The Hamburg and Luxemburg events were next by a visit to Royal Birkdale Golf Club, which will host its tenth British Open Championship in July 2017, for the inaugural Manchester qualifier. A trip to the Land of Fire followed for another inaugural event – this time in Baku at the National Golf Club of Azerbaijan before two more German events, in Stuttgart and Nuremburg took the number of German Grand Finalists into double figures.
August saw three more destinations make their TAWGC debuts within seven days. First up was a visit to TPC Boston, annual host of a Fed-Ex Cup event on the PGA Tour. Next was another PGA Tour venue, this time in Canada at Glen Abbey Golf Club, Toronto with fellow Canadian city Montreal following with their launch event a matter of days later, played at Golf le Fontainebleau. Four more events were contested in August, in Helsinki, Oslo, Sao Paulo and finally in Warsaw, bringing the total number of Grand Final qualifiers to 108.
September proved to be the biggest month for the series, with all but two of the remaining 32 Grand Final spots filled. Ljubljana and Brussels opened proceedings with events in Dhaka and Vilnius – also making their TAWGC debut – following close behind. The three-day flagship event at Kemer Country Club in Istanbul ensured that Turkey had representation at the Finals whilst Buenos Aires added two more South American names to the list. Return visits to Nice, Barcelona and Athens, along with debuts in Prague, St. Petersburg, San Francisco, Almaty, Washington and Venice rounded off a month which saw more than 1,200 guests enjoy the TAWGC experience.
Following such a busy September, we had to wait until just two weeks before the start of the Finals for the final two guests to book their seats on the plane to Belek, doing so at the impressive International Golf Club in Amsterdam.
The 2015 Grand Final
The 2015 Grand Final took place at Kaya Palazzo and Carya Golf Clubs on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th October. The Finalists were playing for one of ten available spots in the pro-am of the 2015 Turkish Airlines Open, with the overall winner partnering golf superstar Rory McIlroy.
Finalists took maximum advantage of the optimum scoring conditions, meaning that the qualifying mark for the pro-am was 76 points, four points better than par after two rounds.
Overall winner, South African Neill Bam, stormed the field by nine shots with an incredible two-round total of 89 points (17 under par), and in doing so secured himself the opportunity of a lifetime alongside four time Major Champion McIlroy.