The drain of talent from the European Tour is set to continue if Spain’s Gonzalez Fernandez-Castano and talented Dane Thorbjorn Olesen finish high up in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando.
Fernandez-Castano was rushing to pick up his wife from the airport soon after competing alongside Tiger Woods on day three of the $6.2m event.
The Spaniard carded a third round 68, that included chipping in for eagle at the sixth hole, to finish tied on eight under par with Olesen who matched Woods score with a similar 66.
Fernandez-Castano first faced Woods in last year’s WGC – Accenture Match-Play Championship opener in Arizona declaring ‘he had nothing to lose’ before going down at the final hole.
But after a first stroke-play outing in the company of the 14-time Major winning Woods, the 32-year Mardid born Fernandez-Castano showed no fear alongside a player looking to win the Arnold Palmer event for an eighth time and also go back to World No. 1.
“It was good fun for me today and just fantastic playing with Tiger here at Bay Hill and in a tournament I have watched so many times on TV,” said the Spaniard.
“To see him playing at his best today was also just amazing and I am so pleased myself because I managed to score a 68 which was quite an achievement in the circumstances.
“He was really friendly towards me but compared to the Match-Play last year, he looks a lot more comfortable with what he’s doing, and his routine that was really long in Tuscon is not so long now.
“Also it was good for me today as I was not near as nervous as I was on the first tee last year.”
Both Fernandez-Castano and the 23-year old Olesen were afforded a sponsor’s invitation to contest this week’s event, and it is their first regular PGA Tour start this year after both contesting the two WGC events.
However a top-three finish will be good enough to secure a PGA Tour card for 2014 and play the remainder of 2013 as a ‘Special Temporary Member’ while a top-10 at worst will secure entry into next week’s Shell Houston Open.
And after the loss of so many Europeans to the PGA Tour, including more recently the England pair of David Lynn and Ross Fisher along with Ryder Cup star, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Fernandez-Castano is determined to join the exodus.
“It would be great if I could wrap-up a PGA Tour card this week as that is my burning goal, and that is why I am here this week to try and secure my card,” he said.
“The PGA Tour School is no longer an option for us and unfortunately the European Tour is struggling so I would like to make enough money to take out ‘Temporary Membership’ in the hope of securing my PGA card for next year.