Shane Lowry, Rory Hie and Anders Kristiansen are all exempt for the first stage of the European Tour qualifying process thanks to their high positions in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
As of this year, exemptions are offered to the three highest-ranked amateur golfers who have applied for the European Tour Qualifying School as of Week 34, on condition that each of those players is within the WAGR top-10. The exemption means that they will be able to bypass the inital 72-hole phase and head directly to Spain for the second of the three stages.
- Shane Lowry of Ireland has been a steady performer in amateur events across Europe this summer, with victories in the North of Ireland Amateur and the Mullingar Trophy to his credit. Lowry, who is currently ranked fourth in the world, will head to the second stage on the back of a fine performance at the St Andrews Trophy, where he helped the GB&I team to a 13 1/2 - 10 1/2 victory over an extremely strong Continent of Europe team.
- Rory Hie of Indonesia turned professional at the end of August 2008 after a successful season in which he had several excellent performances. Highlights included a victory in the Dogwood Invitational, a tie for 45th at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational on the Nationwide Tour, and playing a key role in helping the University of Southern California to win the US Intercollegiate event in April.
- Anders Kristiansen of Norway has had an incredible season by any standards, and given that he is still eligible to play boys' events all the more so. He won the Australian Amateur earlier in the year, was instrumental in helping Norway win the World Junior Team Championship in June (where he tied for first in the individual event), and tied for 9th in the Lexus Open on the Challenge Tour last month.
More details about the European Tour Qualifying School can be found on the European Tour website.