High flying Tani graduates in style

Sat 15 Feb 2014

High flying Tani graduates in style

  • SHARE
Cha-am, Hua Hin, Thailand, February 15: Japan’s Akinori Tani won the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand after Lam Chih Bing of Singapore surrendered in the play-off on Saturday.
Tani, a two-time winner in Japan, shot a one-under-par 70 but the story of the day belonged to Lam, who returned with the day’s lowest score of 64 at the Springfield Royal Country Club.CHA AM-THAILAND-150214-ANIKORI TANI-005
Knowing that he had done enough to earn a Tour card, Lam decided to forfeit the play-off without hitting a single shot as he rushed home to celebrate the birthday of his daughter, who turns two on Sunday.
Filipino veteran Cassius Casas, Hamza Amin of Pakistan, Lionel Weber of France, Nicholas Cullen of Australia, Poom Saksansin of Thailand and Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela were among the 40 players who also earned a Tour card for 2014.
Tani, who is half-Taiwanese, was delighted with his brave effort this week which earned him a swift return onto the Asian Tour.
“It has been a great week. I didn’t play well on the first day so I decided to make some changes to my swing. I played well the last two rounds and I am very happy now that I can return to play on the Asian Tour once again. Looking forward to the first event in India,” said Tani, who compiled a four-day total of 11-under-par 274 which was matched by Lam.
CHA AM-THAILAND-150214-LAM CHIH BING-003Lam, who has won once on the Asian Tour, made up for the disappointment of finishing 65th on the 2013 Order of Merit by putting on a scintillating display of golf when shot a bogey-free round highlighted by one eagle and five birdies.
“The goal was to finish inside the top-40 and once I knew that I made it, I had to rush to catch my flight so I can spend time with my family, especially my daughter whose birthday is on Sunday. It really means a lot to me that I have earned him Tour card again.
“Previously I played through my country exemption category but I will get a better status if I secured a card through Qualifying School That’s why I am here this week,” said Lam, who is the chairman of the Asian Tour Tournament Players Committee.
“Although I have won on the Asian Tour before, it didn’t give me an edge over the rest out here. I think these young guys are fearless and there are many good players but I supposed experience counts as well,” smiled the 37-year-old, whose last appearance in the Qualifying School was in 2005.
An overjoyed Hamza, the son to successful Pakistani amateur golf Taimur Hassan, was brimming with pride after earning a well-deserved Tour card in his third attempt.
Hamza Amin of Pakistan Hamza Amin of Pakistan
“It feels awesome. It is very difficult to explain. I think I deserve it because I put in a lot of work in the last few months. My whole family will be really happy. I know my dad has had sleepless nights. This journey has been so long but it is so fulfilling after finally earning my Tour card,’ said the 26-year-old Hamza.
Filipino veteran Casas, a former Philippine Open champion, showed that his best days are far from over despite his age of 47. He finished in tied 18th place after signing for a 68 for a 279 total.
“It feels great to earn my Asian Tour card! I’m 47 years old this year but it doesn’t matter. I feel that my game is good enough to play on the Asian Tour. Age is only a number,” laughed Casas.
“I see a lot of young players on the Asian Tour now but I have a lot of experience. I have won over 80 local events and I’ve been playing golf for many years. My game is at a level where I want it to be and I’m happy with how I performed this week,” he added.
All Qualifying School entrants will be eligible to compete on the burgeoning Asian Development Tour (ADT), which has become a career pathway for professionals to hone their skills and gain experience before entering into the premier Asian Tour.
Leading final round scores:
274 - Akinori TANI (JPN) 72 67 65 70CHA AM-THAILAND-150214-CASSIUS CASAS-001
274 - LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 68 69 73 64
275 - Lee Tae-hee (KOR) 71 70 69 65, SHIN Hyuk-chul (KOR) 69 71 68 67, Nicholas CULLEN (AUS) 69 67 71 68
276 - Paul PETERSON (USA) 66 68 72 70
277 - Hamza AMIN (PAK) 69 72 69 67, Dimitrios PAPADATOS (AUS) 71 69 68 69, KIM Tae Woo (KOR) 70 69 69 69, Jarin TODD (USA) 67 67 71 72, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 71 68 66 72, Seb GROS (FRA) 68 67 68 74
278 - Alex KANG (USA) 70 70 70 68, Ryan YIP (CAN) 71 67 70 70, Martin ROMINGER (SUI) 66 69 72 71, Naomi OHTA (JPN) 70 67 69 72, Nathan HOLMAN (AUS) 63 72 67 76
Ends.
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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.comwww.facebook.com/asiantourgolfwww.twitter.com/asiantourgolfwww.youtube.com/theasiantour,and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf