Australia’s Richard Green topped the class when he defeated compatriot Todd Sinnott with a birdie at the first play-off hole to secure his playing rights at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Saturday.
Green earned his Tour card on the back of a grueling week which saw him complete with distinction at the Suvarnabhumi Golf and Country Club. The 45-year-old marked his card with a nine-under-par 63 to sign off with four-day total of 28-under-par 260 which is the third lowest ever score in the Asian Tour history for a 72-hole scoring.
Despite being defeated in the play-off by his role model, Sinnott was delighted to post a final round 62. His closing 260 total was also the lowest score he has ever signed for in his career.
China’s Zheng Ou-yang was among the top-35 players and ties who earned playing rights on the region’s premier Tour in 2017. The Chinese posted rounds of 65, 66, 70 and 67 to finally make the grade after a previous failed attempt last year.
Sujjan Singh was India’s top performer as he finished in a share of 13th place after posting a final round 66. It was a welcome return to the Asian Tour for Singh after he lost his card in 2013.
Interesting facts of the day:
It was sweet redemption for Australia’s Richard Green after suffering the agony of losing his European Tour card last season by about US$20,000. With his playing status on the Asian Tour now secured, the smiles are also now back for Green.
Todd Sinnott used to earn his keep as a part-time ball collector at a driving range in Melbourne. He credits his humble beginning for keeping him grounded despite being billed as one of Australia’s brightest prospects today.
Four graduates – Ben Leong, Steve Lewton, Marcus Both and Arnond Vongvanij, are winners on the Asian Tour, with both winning three times and the others winning once each.
Last year’s Qualifying School winner, Yikeun Chang of Korea successfully regained his card by finishing tied-eighth with a final round of 69.
Players finishing inside the top-six at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage will tee up at the season-opener, SMBC Singapore Open next week.
Richard Green (Aus), Fourth round 63 (-9), Total -28 (260)
I guess the world has strange ways of repaying you for your misfortune. I’ve a lot to be thankful for. I started to work with a new coach in Australia and he has seriously helped me a lot in the last couple of weeks. I was really struggling towards the end of the year and the work we did sort of led up to this event. I really wanted to come here and play well and I’m glad I did that as I feel like my game is back to where it should be. It’s nice to have a season of golf ahead of me now. I’m busy again. At one stage towards the end of the year, just before the Australian Open when I got the news from the European Tour, I thought I would be out of job but now it looks like it’s going to be a busy year. I’m very happy with that.
Todd Sinnott (Aus) – Fourth round 62 (-10), Total -28 (260)
The main objective was to come here and get my Tour card. I achieved that and 28-under is my best score that I’ve ever shot in four rounds. There was a disappointing spin at the end of the play-off but it’s okay. I got my card and that’s all that matters I’ve only been to China and Korea before this week and it’s going to be a whole new experience for me, traveling around Asia and play in some of the bigger events here. Finishing second will obviously motivate me to try to get the big win now. I grew up at the same golf course, Kooringal golf club as Richard Green so he is always someone I look up to. I remembered him finishing fourth at the British Open and seeing him win the Australian Masters
Ben Leong (Mas) – Fourth round 68 (-4), Total -25 (263)
Although it was not the first place finish that I was aiming for, it was still a very satisfying week. I’ve no complaints about my week, finishing 25-under. Hopefully I can keep up my good form. I’m definitely going all out for that second win on the Asian Tour this season now that I got my status back.
Zheng Ou-yang (Chn) – Fourth round 66 (-6), Total -21 (267)
I feel very happy and relieved now that the week is over and I finally managed to secure my Asian Tour card in my second attempt. I failed to make the cut last year and I’m really glad I managed to get the job done this week. Now that I got my card and have the opportunities to play on the Asian Tour, I guess I have to learn how to deal with the heat and humidity. It was very tough for me this whole week and I’m just pleased I managed to pull through. This is my first time going lower than 20-under-par in an event and it has really given me the confidence for the year ahead.
Sujjan Singh (Ind) – Fourth round 66 (-6), Total -18 (270)
It took me a few years for me to build up to this. I had a wrist injury a few years ago and my game just wasn’t there and I lost my card. I took a year off to work hard on my game and I felt I was ready for Q School this time around. I changed quite a few things and my approach toward the game. It’s a brand new game that I brought with me this week and I guess it’s working. It has taken a few years for me to get back to where I’m. I suffered that injury in 2012 and I tried to come back and play a little too early. That injury kept recurring and that obviously affected my form. But all that is behind me and I’m looking forward to 2017.
Leading Scores after round 4 of the Qualifying School Final Stage being played at the par 72, 6965 Yards East and South course (am – denotes amateur):
260 – Richard GREEN (AUS) 66-63-68-63, Todd SINNOT (AUS) 64-65-69-62.
262 – Junya KAMESHIRO (JPN) 67-62-67-66.
263 – Ben LEONG (MAS) 65-66-67-65.
266 – Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 68-69-66-63, Raththee SIRITHANAKUNSAK (THA) 67-68-65-66.
267 – Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 67-68-67-65.
268 – Dongmin LEE (KOR) 67-68-70-63, Brian JUNG (CAN) 71-65-66-66, ZHENG Ou-yang (CHN) 65-66-70-67, Sihwan KIM (USA) 69-67-65-67, Yikeun CHANG (KOR) 68-65-66-69.
270 – Sujjan SINGH (IND) 68-66-70-66, Youngjea BYUN (KOR) 65-67-70-68, Arjun PRASAD (am, IND) 66-67-69-68, Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) 65-68-69-68.
271 – Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 68-65-72-66, Teemu PUTKONEN (FIN) 65-67-68-71.
272 – Brett MUNSON (USA) 70-69-66-67, Jarin TODD (USA) 68-66-70-68, Sangpil YOON (KOR) 69-67-69-67, Chanwoo KIM (KOR) 65-69-71-67, William HARROLD (ENG) 65-70-69-68, Ryan MCCORMICK (USA) 67-66-69-70, Settee PRAKONGVECH (THA) 66-66-68-72, William CANNON (USA) 64-68-67-73.
273 – Peradol PANYATHANASEDH (THA) 69-68-68-68, Ekthumrong LUANGANURUK (THA) 72-66-65-70, Junsung KIM (KOR) 69-68-68-68, Steve LEWTON (ENG) 66-69-67-71, Chanachok DEJPIRATANAMONGKOL (THA) 67-63-71-72, Namchok TANTIPOKHAKUL (THA) 66-73-69-65.
274 – Chanat SAKULPOLPHAISAN (THA) 69-67-69-69, Marcus BOTH (AUS) 69-70-65-70, Daniel ZULUAGA (COL) 70-69-65-70, Minkyu HAN (KOR) 68-69-69-68.