It was brutal in the end, but Blake Windred has booked his place in the European Tour School Final Stage after finishing in first place during second stage qualifying at the Desert Springs Golf Club in Almeria, Spain.
Windred carded rounds of 68, 68, 66 and 76 to pass his first Spanish test and take the stage by a whopping five shots from Frenchman Sebastian Gros.
Joining Windred in this week’s final stage at the Lumine Golf Club, in Tarragona, Spain, will be Wollongong’s Jordan Zunic, who finished at one-under and Windred’s fellow Novocastrian, Nick Flanagan, who finished at even par.
The final round was always going to be a formality for the former world amateur number 11, whoever, in conditions he described as brutal, his final round four over 76 highlighted how tough the conditions became.
With wind gusts reaching almost 80 km/h in the Andalucia region, the conditions forced the postponement of the final round in two of the four second stage venues.
“It was tough today,” Windred said. “It was still until about 11; then it was absolutely brutal.”
The rigour of Tour School has proved to be a slightly different proposition for Windred who has been far more used to regular tournament play. With qualification for the final stage the sole purpose of the week, Windred said some simple advice he received from Dimi Papadatos helped his state of mind.
“It definitely feels a little more cutthroat than your average tournament, but that’s what I like most.
“If you play good golf, you will get through, and If you don’t play good you will miss, that’s what Dimi told me,” Windred said.