Time to put the bags away

Sam Torrance
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SO, here we are, back to that fortnight in the calendar where the players can finally hang up their golf bags and visit their families after a long, hard season.<br /><br />The golfing year seems to get more and more demanding on the tour professional these days and the players have certainly earned their closed season break.<br /><br />One thing&rsquo;s for sure, you can be assured those golf bags won&rsquo;t be coming out of the garage for at least another week or so!<br /><br />But while there are those who have successfully negotiated their way through the inaugural Race to Dubai season, spare a thought for those who are playing in the most important tournaments of their year &ndash; just to earn their place on next year&rsquo;s circuit.<br /><br />UP-AND-DOWNS<br />The European Tour Qualifying School, which finishes in Spain tomorrow, is as tough as it comes. Players try to treat it as just another event but this is 12 months all rolled into one and the pressure is immense.<br /><br />England&rsquo;s Simon Khan is one of the surprise names in the school this year and he must surely be one of the favourites to squeeze back in, especially as he shares the lead with compatriot Charlie Ford at the halfway stage.<br /><br />The regular season ended in style with the Mission Hills World Cup in China, which was won in dramatic circumstances by Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari.<br /><br />Four straight birdies around the turn saw the Italians claw back the overnight lead, held by Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, before some classic up-and-downs on the back nine helped them to a one-shot victory from Ireland and defending champions Sweden.<br /><br />With the weather, the player-friendly format and the strong field, it was a great way to end the season &ndash; especially if you are Mr and Mrs Molinari!<br /><br />As for me, I flew out to South Africa to commentate on the Million Dollar Challenge at Sun City this weekend, before my new season as Seniors Tour No1 starts with the inaugural Mauritius Open next week.