New Zealand golfer Sam Jones earns DP World Tour card after grueling qualifying session
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New Zealand golfer Sam Jones earns DP World Tour card after grueling qualifying session

Just two weeks after turning professional, New Zealand golfer Sam Jones has qualified for the lucrative DP World Tour, which offers multi-million dollar purses at most of its events.

Jones’ entry was confirmed Thursday morning after the final round of the final stage of the DP World Tour Qualifying School in Spain. The Manaia golfer endured six grueling rounds to qualify for the Tour.

Jones, who led Taranaki to their first ever inter-provincial men’s title two years ago, will head to Europe alongside the likes of New Zealanders Ryan Fox and Daniel Hillier. He is expected to play at least 20 tournaments for the first time.

New Zealand golfer Sam Jones earns DP World Tour card after grueling qualifying session

The DP World Tour will host 39 events in 26 countries this year, including combined events across five continents. Success on the Tour can earn a player millions of dollars.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Jon Rahm are the highest-ranked players at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship Dubai, which begins Thursday night with a $16.68 million purse.

Jones has had little time to adjust to his new status as the first tour event will begin next week at the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

Jones has had a busy few weeks, representing New Zealand at the Eisenhower Cup, the world’s premier amateur event, in Abu Dhabi at the end of October.

He then competed in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Melbourne before flying to Spain for the second stage of qualifying, where he finished fourth to advance to the final.

After rounds of 68, 69, 70 and 65 at Infinitum Golf, Jones advanced to the 72nd hole in the final stage, which would have earned him a full Challenge Tour berth.

However, he will reap the biggest rewards if he can finish in the top 25 in the final two rounds and earn a spot on the DP World Tour.

Jones did quite well, shooting 68 and 66 in the final two rounds to finish seventh.

“I’m speechless to be honest,” Jones told Golf New Zealand.” I had to change my flight and stay in Spain for the final stage, so I wasn’t expecting anything – I didn’t think I was going to make the second stage.

“It’s crazy to be standing here now after all that. Like I said, I’m speechless.

Jones said he realized that playing 10 rounds in the final two weeks could put pressure on him in the final stages of qualifying, so he analyzed the final 36 holes where he could perform best on the course.

While he said he felt good physically, the mental pressure proved to be the most challenging aspect as he got closer to achieving his long-term goals.

He also had to deal with mounting nerves in the closing stages.

“I am who I am and I think about all the details – which categories I’m going to compete in and so on,” he said.

“Obviously, with the start of the DP World Tour, the increase in prize money and everything that came with it – going into rounds five and six – I was really nervous.

“I thought I could handle it. But honestly, it’s been a real grind and I’m glad to be out of it.”

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