Sentosa, Singapore, December 12: Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, India’s Chikkarangappa S. and Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe proved once again that the route to success starts at the Asian Tour Qualifying School.
Their achievements in the recently-concluded 2016 season are testaments to the adage that hard work really pays off.
Deemed as the launchpad for the careers of many professional golfers, the Asian Tour Qualifying School has propelled many graduates to stardom over the years.
They include the likes of newly-crowned Order of Merit champion Scott Hend, last week’s UBS Hong Kong Open winner Sam Brazel as well as Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
One of the big names who has rose to prominent is Chan, who regained his Asian Tour card for 2016 after coming through the Qualifying School in January. The 30-year-old Chan has since enjoyed a sensational season, securing two wins and one top-three result on the region’s premier Tour.
Prior to his Qualifying School attempt, Chan plied his trade on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) where he recorded a total of five victories. His best season came in 2014 where he finished second on the Order of Merit to earn his Asian Tour card for 2015.
“I didn’t expect to cap such a great season. I am really happy with what I have achieved so far. I have worked really hard for it. It has been an exciting year, hopefully more good things will come in 2017. I will continue to strive for the better.” – Chan Shih-chang
Chan, however, failed to finish inside top-60 on the rankings in 2015 but a trip back to the Qualifying School this year proved worthwhile. He finished in a career-high fourth place on the 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit following a season’s haul of US$542,820.
“It has been a superb season for me. Those wins have given me a huge confidence boost. I went to the Qualifying School in January without thinking too much. I played well in tough conditions that week to make it through.
“I didn’t expect to cap such a great season. I am really happy with what I have achieved so far. I have worked really hard for it. It has been an exciting year, hopefully more good things will come in 2017. I will continue to strive for the better,” said Chan.
Chikkarangappa, who also regained his playing rights on the Asian Tour at the Qualifying School in January, enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2016. He sits in 27th position on the final Order of Merit, finishing inside top-60 for the first time in his career.
Despite not being able to claim a breakthrough win in 2016, the 23-year-old Indian took pride in his commendable season where he notched a total of four top-10s, including three-in-a-row from late September to mid-October.
“I have played well on the Asian Tour this year. I have come close to winning. I know my win will come soon. I just have to stay patient. This season has given me a lot of confidence. My game has gotten better too, having put myself in contention for a couple of events, “ said Chikkarangappa, who turned professional in 2013.
Finishing just one rung below Chikkarangappa on the money list is Vincent, the first Zimbabwean to secure full playing rights on the Asian Tour. Vincent also emerged as the best performing rookie on Tour this season, thanks for two top-10s, including a joint runner-up finish at the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea in September.
“It’s a brand new experience for me this year, visiting new places and taking in all the sights and sound of what each country has to offer. It has obviously worked out very well for me and it’s setting me up very nicely for next year.” – Scott Vincent
“Playing well in Korea has helped to secure my card for next year. A friend asked me to try my luck out here on the Asian Tour. I didn’t really consider it at first but I am very glad I did. There are a few South African guys who play on this Tour and they speak very highly on it.
“It’s a brand new experience for me this year, visiting new places and taking in all the sights and sound of what each country has to offer. It has obviously worked out very well for me and it’s setting me up very nicely for next year,” said the 24-year-old Vincent, who did not miss a single cut playing in his first year on the Asian Tour.
Other Q-school graduates who finished inside top-62 on the final Order of Merit to keep their cards for 2017 include American duo Samuel Chien and Johannes Veerman, India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Thailand’s Sutijet Kooratanapisan and Shunya Takeyasu of Japan.
The 2017 Asian Tour Qualifying School will be held over a three-week run in Thailand with the first stage commencing on December 28.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
Also, visit us at: