Asia's budding stars face uphill task

JOHOR BARU: Asia’s budding stars will undergo one of the hardest tests in golf as they try to secure one of the 40 Asian PGA Tour cards on offer in the Final Stage of Qualifying School, which tees off tomorrow at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club  

Among the hopefuls in the 156-strong field are Sri Lanka’s Anura Rohana, a silver medallist in the Busan Asian Games last year, Taiwan’s Kao Bo-song and Sung Mao-chang, who were in the Asiad gold medal-winning team, and Malaysia’s top amateur Airil Rizman. 

Ireland’s Michael Hoey, the 2001 British amateur champion, and Scotland’s David Patrick, who was in the winning side for Britain and Ireland in the 1999 Walker Cup against the United States, are also aiming to earn their stripes in the Final Stage. 

Last week’s Stage One winners Patrick Beste of the United States and Japan’s Yoshinobu Tsukada will start as favourites to earn their playing privileges on the Asian PGA circuit, which is set to offer US$11.7 million in total prize money this year. 

After the second round, the top 80 players and ties will play in the last two rounds.  

The top 40 finishers will earn their Tour cards on the Asian circuit, which resumes next week with the Caltex Masters in Singapore.

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