Irish face uphill task as Paratore leads into final Q-School round
 Italy's Renato Paratore, just 17, leads the Q-School with a round to go. Picture © Getty Images

Italy's Renato Paratore, just 17, leads the Q-School with a round to go. Picture © Getty Images

Peter Lawrie is just one tantalising shot outside the Top 25 who will win their 2015 European Tour cards on Thursday with Italian Renato Paratore on course to become the youngest winner in European Tour Qualifying School history.

The 17-year old is two shots clear with 18 holes to go in the Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort with Lawrie a shot outside the cards on five under par after carding a level par 72 in the fifth round in Girona.

The Stadium Course is a tough test at the best of times but it will be even tougher now for the 40-year old Dubliner as he bids to regain his full playing rights for next season.

It also promises to be a  testing day for the rest of the Irish who made the 72-hole cut with Kevin Phelan (74) and Simon Thornton (72) two strokes outside the top 25 and ties on four over par.

As for Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin, he has it all to do after he made four birdies and six bogeys in a 74 that leaves him six shots outside the Top 25.

At the top of the leaderboard Paratore, the youngest player left in the field, fired a superb five under par 67 to surge into pole position on 17 under after 90 holes and two clear of Finland’s Mikko Korhonen (68).

A two-time Junior Ryder Cup star and this year's Youth Olympics Gold Medallist, Paratore would become the first teenage winner of the Qualifying School since José María Olazábal triumphed at La Manga in 1985.

He said: “I played very well today – especially from the tee and the putter was also hot too... I feel good, I feel happy, so tomorrow I will just try not to think about things too much and stay calm, keep my mind clear, and see where I am at the end of the day.”

He only turned professional following qualification from Second Stage at Panoramica Golf & Sport Resort last week and says will be inspired by friend and compatriot Matteo Manassero, whom he met as a 13-year old training with the Italian national squad.

“Matteo is my model, my mentor,” Paratore said “We speak a lot, we are good friends and he called me before this week and told me just to play and keep calm. 

“Seeing how well he has done as a young guy on The European Tour is inspiring and I follow him a lot. We have similar games with hitting it very straight, and he is amazing around the greens, so hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.”

With just one round left to run in the gruelling six-day examination, 28 players are currently on course to seize a European Tour card at six under par or better, including 2013 US Amateur Champion Matt Fitzpatrick (71) as well as former Challenge Tour Number Ones Andrea Pavan (69) and Espen Kofstad (72).

European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage (PGA Catalunya Resort)

339 R Paratore (Ita) 67 70 66 69 67; 

341 M Korhonen (Fin) 72 65 65 71 68; 

343 M Ford (Eng) 74 64 65 68 72; R Gonzalez (Arg) 68 68 65 72 70; 

344 R McEvoy  (Eng) 73 65 64 72 70; E De La Riva  (Esp) 71 68 69 67 69; 

346 A Pavan (Ita) 69 67 70 71 69; C Paisley  (Eng) 70 69 68 70 69; L Jensen (Den) 69 74 67 66 70; R Karlberg  (Swe) 67 68 67 73 71; 

347 A Lahiri (Ind) 65 68 66 73 75; C Del Moral (Esp) 68 74 65 70 70; 

348 P Maddy (Eng) 67 72 68 69 72; A Otaegui  (Esp) 67 71 68 72 70; C Lloyd (Eng) 72 66 66 71 73; J Parry (Eng) 68 68 71 69 72; C Bouniol (Fra) 72 68 67 71 70; T Murray (Eng) 76 64 63 73 72; 

349 J Hansen  (Den) 71 71 64 74 69; P Edberg (Swe) 73 62 63 75 76; E Kofstad (Nor) 72 67 64 74 72; S Manley (Wal) 66 72 67 71 73; 

350 J Lagergren (Swe) 66 72 69 70 73; P Oriol (Esp) 70 66 68 69 77; J Makitalo  (Fin) 66 74 71 67 72; M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 70 66 67 76 71; S Gros (Fra) 67 75 67 74 67; B Virto  (Esp) 77 63 67 73 70; 

---- End Top-25 and ties---

351 S Soderberg (Swe) 67 70 67 74 73; A Dodt (Aus) 66 71 68 74 72; W Homan  (USA) 77 68 70 65 71; P Widegren  (Swe) 70 71 68 70 72; R Gouveia (Por) 74 68 64 72 73; C Gloet  (Den) 64 74 66 72 75; Peter Lawrie (Irl) 71 67 67 74 72; S Fallon (Eng) 72 65 71 74 69; M Jonzon (Swe) 69 73 68 72 69; 

352 P Archer (Eng) 68 74 72 67 71; Simon Thornton (Irl) 68 69 67 76 72; D Woltman (USA) 72 72 71 68 69; D Im (USA) 66 73 69 70 74; Kevin Phelan (Irl) 69 72 65 72 74; N Geyger (Chi) 66 74 66 77 69; 

353 D Dixon (Eng) 68 72 65 74 74; A Tadini (Ita) 72 67 69 71 74; M Delpodio  (Ita) 68 68 71 71 75; B Åkesson (Swe) 72 68 63 75 75; E Cuartero Blanco (am) (Esp) 74 65 66 71 77; 

354 B Evans  (Eng) 73 68 66 74 73; J Huldahl (Den) 67 79 70 66 72; J Scrivener (Aus) 77 64 67 74 72; S Kim (Kor) 73 67 67 75 72; S Griffiths (Eng) 76 68 67 72 71; J Hahn (USA) 67 79 72 58 78; K Ferrie (Eng) 66 75 65 72 76; J Walters (RSA) 73 70 77 62 72; G Porteous (Eng) 80 64 69 69 72; 

355 E Goya (Arg) 71 68 71 73 72; A Marshall (Eng) 69 71 69 68 78; A Ahokas (Fin) 66 76 71 69 73; 

356 D Stewart (Sco) 67 76 71 68 74; P Whiteford (Sco) 77 66 65 73 75; J Gonnet  (Fra) 68 73 70 72 73; S Walker (Eng) 66 71 68 75 76; Gareth Maybin (Nir) 74 71 72 65 74; 

357 L De Jager  (RSA) 73 68 69 73 74; M Soegaard  (Den) 67 73 68 73 76; M Orrin (Eng) 69 73 66 70 79; G Lockerbie  (Eng) 76 67 70 69 75; A Saddier (Fra) 66 73 71 73 74; J Fahrbring (Swe) 74 70 71 67 75; J Knutzon (USA) 66 76 67 72 76; 

358 D Coupland (Eng) 76 70 69 68 75; M Schneider (Ger) 72 74 72 65 75; S Henry  (Sco) 70 72 68 73 75; J Guerrier  (Fra) 69 71 71 69 78; 

359 F Andersson Hed (Swe) 76 69 72 66 76; 

360 A Velasco (Esp) 69 74 68 71 78