Fourteen Australians at various stages of their careers begin the Final Stage of Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand on Wednesday with one shared goal… job security.
For veterans such as Scott Strange and David Gleeson – a combined five Asian Tour wins between them – it’s a 90-hole examination to prove they can still cut it with the young guys flooding the professional ranks.
Players such as Andrew Martin, Rick Kulacz and Ben Eccles have been in the play-for-pay ranks for a number of years and are still fighting to secure their status on a world tour that would provide some kind of financial certainty.
And then there are the newly-minted pros such as John Lyras, Blake Collyer, Will Heffernan and Jack Lane-Weston, hungry to make their mark on the pro game.
Kiwi pair Campbell Rawson and Taewook Koh will join the Aussie contingent at Lake View Resort and Golf Club in Hua Hin with the top 35 and ties at the completion of five rounds to be granted 2020 Asian Tour cards with status reflecting their finishing position at Q School.
A total of 244 players will play the opening two rounds across the two host courses with the leading 140 players to progress after a 36-hole cut.
Another cut will occur following the fourth round, leaving the top 70 and ties to play off for the 35 tour cards over 18 holes.
At No.606 in the world Gleeson is the highest-ranked Australasian player in the field, unable to keep his card in 2019 despite a runner-up finish at the Sabah Masters in November.
The leader through 54 holes, the now 42-year-old said he hoped a more relaxed approach to his golf would help him to add to his three Asian Tour titles, the last one coming at the Hero Indian Open in 2011.
“I think my game is better than it was back in the past,” Gleeson said. “It’s more complete than back then.
“I played at a very high sort of emotional level back then. That’s what I have been working on, just to relax and enjoy the game.”
Round 1 tee times (AEDT)
Qualifying School Final Stage
Lake View Resort and Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand
11.35am Ben Eccles, Wisut Artjanawat, Amandeep Singh Johl
11.35am* Blake Collyer, Chen Ting-Yu (a), Joonhyeong Jeon
11.55am Campbell Rawson, Panuwat Bulsombath, Veer Ahlawat
11.55am Matthew Lisk, Ian Snyman, Rakhyun Cho
11.55am* Cory Crawford, Sydney Chung, Wynand Dingle
12.05pm* Andrew Martin, Bio Kim, Aadil Bedi
12.35pm Scott Strange, Christoffer Baumann, Abdul Hadi
12.35pm Daniel Gale, Lucas Kim, Seungtaek Oh
12.45pm* David Gleeson, Sarit Suwannarut, Ankur Chadha
3.35pm* Kevin Yuan, Ryuko Tokimatsu, Namchok Tantipokhakul
3.45pm* John Lyras, Sam Kim, Woohyun Kim
4.15pm* Will Heffernan, Ryuichi Oiwa, Hakhyung Kim
4.25pm* Rick Kulacz, Ryosuke Kinoshita, Abhinav Lohan
4.35pm* Jack Lane-Weston, Genki Okada, Pasavee Lertvilai
5.05pm* Taewook Koh, Kartik Sharma, Yin Yongxuan
5.15pm Dale Brandt-Richards, Oscar Zetterwall, Dongeun Kim
* Starting from 10th tee