Amateur stars Shane Lowry, Paul O'Hanlon and Jonathan Caldwell have entered the first stage of this month's European Tour Qualifying School.

The trio form part of a 34 strong Irish army bidding to make it all the way to the third and Final Stage at PGA Golf de Catalunya in Spain from November 13-18.

The venue – on the outskirts of Girona on Spain’s Costa Brava – replaces The San Roque Club in the south of the country which hosted or co-hosted the tournament for 11 of the past 13 years, and becomes the 14th venue in total to stage The European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in this, its 33rd season.
PGA Golf de Catalunya is no stranger to top level golf competition having, in the past, staged events such as the 1999 Gene Sarazen World Open won by Thomas Björn, the 2000 Peugeot Open de España claimed by Brian Davis, and the 2001 European Seniors Tour Championship won by Jerry Bruner.
For four of the past six years, it has also been used as one of the venues for The European Tour Qualifying School Second Stage.
Qualifying School Director Mike Stewart said: “We are delighted PGA Golf de Catalunya will host the Final Stage of this year’s Qualifying School. It has been a superb supporter of the tournament since 2002, and I am sure the players will relish the challenge presented to them as they strive to finish in the top 30 and gain a place on The 2009 European Tour.”
PGA Golf de Catalunya features two courses – the Green Course and the Red Course – both of which were designed by two of the most renowned figures in European golf, England’s Neil Coles MBE and Spain’s Angel Gallardo, respectively Chairman and Vice-Chairman of The PGA European Tour Board of Directors.
The longer Green Course, opened in June 1999, will play host to four of the six rounds including the last two after the four round cut is made, while the shorter Red Course, opened for play in October 2005, will comprise two of the competitors’ opening four rounds.
PGA Golf de Catalunya’s promotion leaves a gap in the Second Stage of the competition which has been filled by Montenmedio Golf and Country Club, near Cadiz, which joins its Spanish counterparts Arcos Gardens, Golf Costa Ballena and Sherry Golf Jerez in hosting the Second Stage from November 5-8, 2008.
Completing the roll of newcomers to the competition is the Loch Lomond-owned Dundonald Links near Troon, which becomes the first Scottish course to be part of The European Tour Qualifying School process since it began in 1976.
Dundonald Links will join Chart Hills Golf Club in England and Fleesensee Golf and Country Club in Germany in making up the First Stage – Section A from September 9-12, 2008; while The Oxfordshire Golf Club in England, Golf de Moliets in France and Circolo Golf Bogogno in Italy will comprise the First Stage – Section B from September 16-19, 2008.
The 2007 European Tour Qualifying School featured 876 competitors in total at the outset drawn from 44 countries, from which the top 30, led by Austria’s Martin Wiegele, eventually gained their cards for The 2008 European Tour at The San Roque Club in November 2007.
European Tour Qualifying School - Stage One

Chart Hills
Greg Bowden Irl   
Chris Devlin N.Ire   
Gavin McNeill Irl   
Thomas O'Flynn (AM) Irl   
Mark O'Sullivan Irl   
Glen Robinson Irl   

Dundonald Links
Byron Campbell (AM) N.Ire   
Michael Collins Irl   
James Fox (AM) Irl   
Shane Franklin Irl   
Ted Higgins JNR Irl   
Justin Kehoe Irl   
John Kelly Irl   
Michael Lavelle Irl   
Brian McElhinney Irl   
Mark Murphy Irl   
Gareth Shaw N.Ire

Daniel Sugrue Irl 
Barrie Trainor Irl


Fleesensee G & C Club
Michael McDermott Irl   
Mervyn Owens Irl   


Golf de Moliets
Eddie Barr Irl  
Cian McNamara Irl  

The Oxfordshire
Jonathan Caldwell (AM) N.Ire  
Gary David Cullen Irl  
Stephen Grant Irl  
Steven Hackett Irl  
Ger HALL (AM) Irl  
Richard Kilpatrick N.Ire  
Shane Lowry (AM) Irl  
Brendan McCarroll Irl  
Damian Mooney N.Ire  
Paul O'Hanlon (AM) Irl  
Peter O'Keeffe Irl  

Circolo Golf Bogogno
Padraig Dooley Irl  
Tim Rice Irl