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.
“I guess the world has strange ways of repaying you for your misfortune,” Green said. “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.”
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.
“The main objective was to come here and get my Tour card,” Sinnott said. “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.”
Fellow Australians Jake Higginbottom and Marcus Both also earned Tour cards for the season, courtesy of their top-35 finishes.
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.
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.