Hunt for Asian Tour cards begins at Q-School
BY iseekgolf.com | Asian Tour | 2006 Asian Tour Q-School - Stage One | Preview | 04 Jan 2006
The battle begins on Wedneday for 421 golfers who will tee up in Stage One of the 2006 Asian Tour Qualifying School in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
The Qualifying School will be held over four courses at two golf clubs in this southern city in Malaysia. A total of 217 golfers will tee off at Palm Resort Golf and Country Club while 204 players compete at Tanjong Puteri Golf and Country Club.
It will be a tight affair this week as only the top 14 finishers and ties from Tanjong Puteri’s Village Course and top 14 and ties from the Straits Course will qualify for the Final Stage. At Palm Resort, the top 18 and ties from its Cempaka Course and the top 14 and ties from Allamanda Course will book their spots for the Finals.
The successful qualifiers from Stage One will then join 158 exempted players in the all-important Final Stage next week at Palm Resort where 40 Asian Tour cards will be at stake.
Amongst the notable names competing in Stage One include New Zealand’s young prodigy, Jae An. The 17-year-old Korean-born player hit international headlines when he emerged as the youngest ever male golfer to qualify for an Open championship at the 2002 New Zealand Open at a tender age of 13.
An, who is the 2004 World Junior champion, left Korea in 1999 and moved to New Zealand to pursue his studies in Rotorua and recently turned professional. Former English Amateur Champion Stuart Cage is among the experienced golfers seeking a place in the Final Stage alongside Finnish Mikko Ilonen, who won the 2000 British Amateur Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Malaysia will have several young guns aiming to make the grade in Stage One. Former amateur star Anis Helmi Abu, who won the the SportExcel Grand Final in 2002 and finished third in the Philippines Junior Open in 2003, leads the hopefuls alongside former national players Faridil Atras and Sahal Saedin and Zurie Harun.
“We believe our golf courses will challenge the players as the rough is up. I think they will have a challenging time,” said Tanjong Puteri Golf and Country Club general manager Khoo Peck Khoon.
“It is an important tournament for the players and we are delighted to host the Qualifying School as there are potential world beaters here,” said Palm Resort Golf and Country Club manager Gary Tan.
The Qualifying School has often been a breeding ground for future stars. Last year, India’s Shiv Kapur graduated from Qualifying School and subsequently made a name for himself by winning the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia in Thailand last month and finished fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Two-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is also a product of the Qualifying School along with the likes of established names like Korea’s Charlie Wi, Kevin Na and Australia’s Andrew Buckle.
Source – Asian Tour