Quek keeps Tour card hopes alive #ATQS

Wed 13 Jan 2016

Quek keeps Tour card hopes alive #ATQS

  • SHARE
Hua Hin, Thailand, January 13: Singapore’s Quincy Quek got off to a promising start when he fired an opening five-under-par 66 to stay three shots off the pace at the Asian Tour Qualifying School presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Wednesday.
Quincy Quek of SIngapore Quincy Quek of SIngapore
The 28-year-old Singaporean, who last played in the Qualifying School in 2011, kept up his hopes of securing a 2016 Asian Tour card when he returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies at the Springfield Royal Country Club to grab a share of fourth place.
Korean Chang Yikeun, who came through the first stage last week, enjoyed a career first with three eagles in a spectacular round of 63 at the same golf course to seize a one-shot lead over American Kevin McLister, who soared with an ace on seven at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club.
Tom Johnson, also of the United States, came in third after signing for a 65 while former Tennis star and golf amateur Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand returned with an encouraging 72.
A total of 244 players teed off in the all-important Final Stage where the top-40 and ties will earn an Asian Tour card for the 2016 season. The first two rounds of the Final Stage will be held at Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal. After two days, the top-100 and ties will progress to the final two rounds which will be played at Springfield Royal.
Quek, who broke a 20-month title spell when he won on home soil a fortnight ago, reeled in nine straight pars before storming home with birdies on 11, 12, 14, 17 and 18.
“I hit the ball good. I played consistently and hit a lot of fairways. I gave myself some birdie chances out there as well, especially on the par-fives. Everything went well for me. I was solid off the tee so I was feeling quite confident out there,” said Quek, a one-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2012.
Quek endured a lacklustre season in 2015 where he secured only one top-five finish on the ADT and missed the halfway cuts in all four starts on the Asian Tour. He hopes to make amends by securing his Asian Tour card for the 2016 season this week.
“I didn’t play well last year. I had some problems with my swing at the earlier half of the year and I was struggling to find my momentum. I just didn’t manage to get anything going. I didn’t think I played bad but I guess it just wasn’t good enough.
“I will just treat this like any other events. The pressure is there already so I will try not to have any expectations. I will just try my best and not think too much. I will try and score as low as possible tomorrow,” added Quek.
Chang, 22, rode on his remarkable tee shots to soar with three eagles in his round. He hit it to about three feet with an eight-iron for his first eagle on fifth, holed a five-footer for his second eagle on 12 and sank a 20-footer on 18th for his third eagle of the day.
“This is the first time I had three eagles in a round! I eagled all the par-fives at the Springfield Royal Country Club. I hit the ball really good. I knew I had to hit it good on the front nine because it gets pretty tough when the wind gets up on the back nine. I was trying to hit the greens and make putts out there,” said the young Korean, who turned professional in 2013.
McLister, who also came through the first stage last week, rode on a hot putter to put himself in good position of securing an Asian Tour card for 2016.
“I think putting was the key for me. I got off to a slow start from 10 but recovered swiftly with four birdies to turn in 33. I was trying to ride on my good momentum heading into the front nine which was my back nine. I am really thrilled with the hole-in-one. I had a really solid round,” who aced the 186-yard par-three seven with an eight iron.
S.Chikkarangappa of India S.Chikkarangappa of India
India’s Chikkarangappa S., who also started from the 10, was pleased with his opening round efforts where he registered a 67 to sit four shots off the pace in tied-10 position.
The 22-year-old Indian capped a superb front nine 30 highlighted by four birdies on 12, 15, 16, 17 and an eagle on 18 before dropping two shots on his way home.
“I played really well on my front nine. I had a good drive with a five-iron to about 204 yards, hit a slice cut from the back before hitting it to about 15 yards from the pin and made the eagle putt on 18.
“The wind was picking up after I made the turn and I thought the first six holes were pretty tight. I had a hard time judging the wind direction out there. The wind kind of confused me on my back nine. But overall, I think I played alright,” said Chikkarangappa, who is amongst the 18 Indians in the field.
Despite missing out on his Asian Tour card after finishing 73rd on the Order of Merit last season, Chikkarangappa remained positive of his prospects for 2016.
“I have been doing well most of last season actually, just that I missed the halfway cuts for the last few events and lost my card. I think I put too much pressure on myself. I am feeling much comfortable with my game and everything is in place right now,” added Chikkarangappa.
All Qualifying School entrants will be eligible to compete on the burgeoning ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour. The secondary circuit staged a record total of 28 tournaments in the 2014 season.
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 FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner) 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 www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.