38-year-old Gaurav Pratap Singh of Noida shot 72-69-71-68 (4-under 280) to be the lone Indian qualifying from Springfield Royal Country Club in Thailand for the Final Stage of the annual Asian Tour Qualifying Tournament.
However Indians who have already received exemption into the Final Stage of the qualifier include – Yashas Chandra, Angad Cheema, Om Prakash Chouhan, Khalin Joshi, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Udayan Mane, Himmat Rai, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, Kartik Sharma, Aman Raj & Varun Parikh.
Indian players who had ventured to Thailand for the Asian Tour qualifiers included Sunhit Bishnoi, Arjun Bhati, Yash Majmudar (A) and Gaurav Pratap Singh.
Amateur Yash Majmudar, a Singapore-born Indian and the winner of the Singapore Open Championship in 2022, shot 75-71-68-71 (5-over 285) to finish T42nd and missed his chance of qualifying by five strokes. He was the only Indian origin player to make it through to the final rounds of the qualifier at Thana City Country Club in Thailand.
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Sunhit Bishnoi shot 75-72-70 (5-over 217) and Arjun Bhati 79-69-74 (12-over 222) to miss the 54-hole cut at the qualifier at Thana City.
Pratap Singh will join US based former Delhi boy Saptak Talwar at the Final Stage who qualified in December at Blue Canyon in Phuket. 10 Indians had ventured to Phuket but only Saptak was successful – they were Aadil Bedi, Yashas Chandra, Samarth Dwivedi, Gurbaaz Mann, Varun Parikh, Arjun Prasad, Arjun Puri, Vasu Sehgal, and Dhruv Sheoran.
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Several Indian players, led by 10 time Asian Tour winner, Gaganjeet Bhullar, are already exempt for the Asian Tour based on their 2022 Asian Tour rankings. Others get into tournaments based on country-wise exemptions.
The all-important Final Qualifying Stage will take place at the Lakeview Resort & Golf Club in Hua Hin from January 18-22, and the top-35 finishers following the 90-hole battle will earn playing rights for the lucrative and highly anticipated 2023 season, which promises to be the biggest and best year in the history of the Asian Tour.
The 2023 Asian Tour season is expected to be its most lucrative ever with the Saudi backed Asian Tour International Series featuring more than 12 events of US$1.5 Million or above.
Over the years, the Asian Tour Qualifying School has witnessed the emergence of many top players in the region. Successful graduates include Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee (1999), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2009) and Sadom Kaewkanjana (2019); the Australian Scott Hend (2007); Korea’s Yikeun Chang (2016); and the American duo of Kurt Kitayama (2018) and John Catlin (2018).
Photo – PGTI