2020 ASIAN TOUR QUALIFYING SCHOOL FINAL STAGE

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Starts: From January 19, Wednesday till January 23, Sunday

Venue: Lake View Resort and Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand

Par/Yards: Course A&B – Par 71, 6,897 yards, Course C&D – Par 71, 7,218 yards

Field size: 245 (Section A Qualifiers: 15 + Section B Qualifiers: 72+ Final Stage exempt: 158)

Format: 90-hole stroke play (5 rounds)

2019 winner: Austen Truslow (USA)

Hashtags: #ATQSchool #whereitsAT

Nationalities: 30

Countries represented: Australia (14), Canada (2), China (1), Chinese Taipei (7), England (7), France (2), Fiji (1), Finland (1), Hong Kong (2), Indonesia (2), India (18), Ireland (2), Japan (24), Korea (40), Laos (1), Malaysia (10), Myanmar (3), New Zealand (2), Norway (2), Pakistan (1), Philippines (6), South Africa (8), Singapore (6), Spain (1), Sweden (7), Thailand (40), United States (32), Venezuela (1), Vietnam (1), Zimbabwe (1).

Notable players: Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn), Hennie Otto (Rsa), Gunn Charoenkul (Tha), Seukhyun Baek (Kor), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe), Khalin Joshi (Ind), Natipong Srithong (Tha).

Former AT champions: 12

Highest-ranked player on OWGR: Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn), 116th

No. of amateurs: 3

Youngest & Oldest players in field: Chen Ting-yu (a) (Tpe), 18 years old, Zaw Moe (Mya), 52 years old

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The 2020 Asian Tour Qualifying School offers some of the world’s most promising players, both professional and amateur, the opportunity to earn their playing rights on the Asian Tour and the Asian Development Tour in the 2020 season.
  • The 2020 Asian Tour Qualifying School, which comprises of two stages – First Stage and Final stage, attracted a total of 459 entries from 37 countries across the globe.
  • Successful graduates of the Qualifying School include Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee (1999) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2009), Australian Scott Hend (2007), Korea’s Yikeun Chang (2016), as well as the American duo Kurt Kitayama (2018) and John Catlin (2018). PGA TOUR champions Kevin Na (2002) and Daniel Chopra (2015) are also part of the illustrious Asian Tour Qualifying School alumni.
  • The First Stage of the 2020 Asian Tour Qualifying School is made up of Section A and Section B. Section A, which was held earlier at the Lake View Resort and Golf Club from January 8 to 11, saw a total of 15 players progressed to this week’s Final Stage. Section B took place on the same venue last week with 72 players making it through to the Final Stage from courses A&B (35) and C&D (37).
  • Players who passed the test in the First Stage will join 158 other players, who are already exempt, in the Final Stage, which is scheduled to be played over 90 holes this week. All 245 players will play the first two rounds. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the leading 140 players and ties who will then play 2 further rounds. After 72 holes, the field will be cut again to the leading 70 players and ties, who will then play the fifth and final round. At the conclusion of 90 holes, the leading 35 players and ties will be ranked accordingly for the 2020 season.
  • Players who compete in the 2020 Qualifying School will also be eligible to play on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), which was launched in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour.

NOTABLE PLAYERS

  • South African Hennie Otto is making his first attempt to earn his Tour card at the Asian Tour Qualifying School. The 43-year-old played his first Asian Tour event at the 2003 Hong Kong Open where he came in second. He made several other starts across Asia since but he has never had a full Asian Tour card before.
  • Otto is a 13-time winner on the Sunshine Tour and a three-time champion on the European Tour. In his Major debut at The Open in 2003, Otto enjoyed a solid tied-10th place finish.
  • Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino, the highest-ranked player in the field at 116th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), is also making his first attempt to secure his Tour card at the Qualifying School this week.
  • The 23-year-old Hoshino enjoyed a tied-11th place result at the SMBC Singapore Open last month. Prior to that, he has notched six top-10 finishes on Tour since 2017.
  • Thai rising star Gunn Charoenkul is attempting to secure his Asian Tour card for the second straight year at the Qualifying School. He had closed with a sizzling 61 to finish second last year.
  • The 27-year-old welcomed his first child just last week and returns to the same venue this week, aiming to regain his card for the 2020 season.
  • Gunn has secured a third-place finish in Hong Kong and a tied-14th place result in Singapore to sit in third place on the 2020 Order of Merit.
  • Gunn was not eligible for the 2019 Order of Merit as he did not play the minimum event required. After making the grade at the 2019 Qualifying School, Gunn made only three starts in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand where he came in tied-seventh, second and fifth respectively.
  • Gunn will spearhead a 40-man local charge as he vies to finish inside top-35 and ties on Sunday to secure his playing rights on the Asian Tour. Thailand is the most well-represented country alongside Korea in the final stage of the 2020 Asian Tour Qualifying School.
  • The Korean contingent will be led by Bio Kim and Seukhyun Baek, who is eyeing a successful return to the Asian Tour following a two-year military stint which saw him lost 57 kilos in just nine months.
  • Two-time Asian Tour winner Rikard Karlberg will also be looking to regain his playing rights on the Asian Tour for the first time since shifting his focus to the European Tour in 2015.
  • The 33-year-old Swede signaled his arrival to Asia when he came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2010. He claimed his first title in India in what was only his second start that season and went on to win his second title on the same venue in India later that year.
  • Karlberg was out of action for the entire 2018 season due to health reasons but he made a comeback in 2019 with four top-10s on the European and Challenge Tours.
  • Other notable aspirants include Thai youngster Tanapat Pichaikool, who was part of the Team Gold Medalist at the 2019 Southeast Asia Games, as well as newly turned pro Karthik Sharma of India and his fellow compatriot Aadil Bedi.
  • Sharma, 20, made an early switch from Tennis to Golf and has enjoyed an illustrious amateur career which included a victory at the 2019 New South Wales Amateur Golf Championship.
  • Bedi, who turned 19 on Monday, is eyeing to regain his card in his second attempt at the Qualifying School where he came in top-10 last year. Prior to turning professional at the start of 2019, Bedi has won 171 Medals and trophies throughout his 13-year amateur career
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