Thailand, January 2: A total of 346 players from over 35 countries will attempt to cross the first hurdle of the Asian Tour Qualifying School when the First Stage gets underway at four different venues in Thailand on Wednesday.
The St. Andrews 2000 will host 120 players while 118 players will feature at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club. A total of 41 players will tee up at the Silky Oak Country Club while 67 other players will challenge for the Final Stage tickets at the Windsor Park and Golf Club from January 3 to 6.
The leading 30% of the field at each venue after four rounds will qualify for the all-important Final Stage which will be played at the Rayong Green Valley County Club and the St. Andrews 2000 in Rayong from January 10 to 14.
Currently, a total of 130 players are already exempted into the Final Stage which will see the top-35 players and ties after 90 holes earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for 2018.
The Asian Tour has released the first part of the 2018 schedule, which will feature 12 events across 11 countries in the first five months.
Players who compete in the 2018 Qualifying School will also be eligible to play on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), which has staged a total of 20 tournaments in 2017. The ADT, launched in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour, will continue to offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points in 2018.
Over the years, the Asian Tour Qualifying School has proven to be the springboard for success for many of the region’s big names such as Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Order of Merit champion, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Asia’s number one in 2013 and 2015 Order of Merit champion Anirban Lahiri of India.
Other graduates who have gone on to become Tour champions include American David Lipsky, Thailand’s Danthai Boonma, South African Shaun Norris, India’s Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal, Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Malaysia’s Ben Leong, Australian Scott Hend, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, American Micah Shin and Todd Sinnott of Australia.
Results of the Asian Tour Qualifying School First Stage will be available on www.asiantour.com starting from Wednesday.