Botes Takes Lead at European Q-School Finals


South African Desvonde Botes carded a 5-under-par 67 to take a one-shot lead through two rounds of the six-day European Tour Qualifying School Finals in Spain.
Botes, playing at Sotogrande, leads Englishman Shaun Webster, who shot 67 at San Roque, by the slimmest of margins at 9-under-par. First-round leader Paul Sherman of England fell into a tie for 31st place following his day-two 77, 11 strokes higher than his opening-round score.
Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts is in third place after rounds of 70-67. Colsaerts is one of Belgium's most promising teenagers. The 18-year-old played in the Junior Ryder Cup Matches in 1997 and 1999 and lost in a playoff in his first start on the Challenge Tour in 2000.
Botes carded eight birdies and a double-bogey 6 at the seventh en route to the lead. Meanwhile, Webster played bogey-free golf on Saturday. The Englishman is trying to erase the memories of the '99 Qualifying Finals.
'I made the cut, but didn't get my card,' said Webster. 'It was a costly week - I paid over 800 pounds to enter and was penalized two strokes for slow play and fined 500 pounds.'
Webster could have avoided a return trip to Q-School via the Challenge Tour. With the top 15 earning their 2001 European Tour cards, Webster was 14th entering the final event, but played 'poorly' and dropped to 17th.
There are 168 players in this week's field, with the top 35 and ties earning their 2001 European Tour playing privileges. Justin Rose is tied for 21st through two rounds. Rose holed a 9-iron from 113 yards on the 17th hole to shoot a 4-under-par 68 on Saturday. Likewise, former Ryder Cupper Phillip Walton holed a 30-foot eagle putt at the 9th, his final hole of the day to shoot an even-par 72. The Irishman is tied for 48th at 1-over-par through two rounds.