Asian Tour qualifying begins
BY Bruce Young | Asian Tour | 2013 Asian Tour Q-School - Final Stage | General | 08 Jan 2013
Hua Hin, Thailand, January 8: The Asian Tour Qualifying School, which has attracted an all-time high of 761 entries from aspiring professionals from across the globe, will commence with the First Stage Section A on Wednesday.
The First Stage Section A will be held at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club, Royal Thai Army Sports Centre and Banyan Golf Club where Tour hopefuls from over 30 countries will vie for their playing rights for the 2013 Asian Tour season.
Due to the record number of entries which surpassed last year’s total of 580 players, the First Stage Section B will be played the following week at the Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal Country Club to accommodate the additional players.
A total of 605 players will tee up for the First Stage Section A and Section B. After four rounds, the top 15% players from each venue will qualify for the all-important Final Stage from January 23 to 26.
Notable names in Stage One include the highly rated Rashid Khan of India, Won Joon Lee of Australia, former European Tour player Pelle Edberg of Sweden and 2000 Malaysian Open champion Yeh Wei-tze of Chinese Taipei.
156 players are already exempted into the all-important Final Stage at the Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal where the top-40 finishers and ties will earn their Tour cards for 2013.
Over the years, the Asian Tour Qualifying School has been the springboard to success for many of the region’s recognisable names.
Thai hero Thongchai Jaidee, who came through the 1999 Qualifying School, and 2010 Order of Merit champion Noh Seung-yul of Korea, who graduated in 2008, are amongst those who have qualified through the Qualifying School and enjoyed success on the Asian Tour.
Other graduates who have become Tour champions include Korea’s Charlie Wi, India’s Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal, Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Masanori Kobayashi, Australian Scott Hend as well as Berry Henson and David Lipsky of the United States.
A one-time PGA Tour winner and graduate of the Asian Tour, Korean-American Kevin Na believes that players who eventually earn their cards on the Asian Tour will benefit immensely from the playing opportunities on the Tour.
“Keep playing well here. If you keep playing well and win, it will open up a lot of doors for you. The Asian Tour is a great place and a great Tour to develop your game,” said Na, who enjoyed his career breakthrough in Malaysia in 2002.
The Qualifying School is the only pathway to compete on the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour, which will be afforded with Official World Golf Ranking status from this year onwards.
Qualifying School players who do not finish in the top-40 at the Final Stage for their Asian Tour cards will receive playing privileges on the Asian Development Tour.
Last year, a total of 27 events were sanctioned by the Asian Tour while the Asian Development Tour held 13 tournaments on its schedule.
There is a large contingent of Australasians amongst those competing in Stage One including former Australian and New Zealand Amateur Champion Matt Jager, Jordan Sherrratt, Eisenhower representative Matt Stieger, Won Joon Lee and David Lutterus.
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