Victorian Will Heffernan can shed the pain of recent Q School heartbreak after leading a group of five Australians to earn their 2020 Asian Tour cards at Qualifying School in Thailand on Sunday.
Contested over 90 holes, eight Aussies were among the top 75 to advance to Sunday’s fifth and final round with Heffernan, Scott Strange, Cory Crawford, Ben Eccles and Kevin Yuan all finishing in the top 35 to secure an international schedule this year.
There was disappointment for Andrew Martin who finished one shot shy of the number required with Rick Kulacz and Dale Brandt-Richards a further shot back in a tie for 40th.
A member of the victorius Victorian team at the 2018 Interstate Series, Heffernan has seen teammates such as Zach Murray and David Micheluzzi make strong early impressions on the professional game as he has fought to secure playing opportunities both in Australia and abroad.
Attending Asian Tour Q School for the third time, Heffernan had to first come through First Stage of Q School – book-ending nine rounds in the space of two weeks with rounds of 77 and 66 – and believes previous Q School disappointments proved important in finishing runner-up to South African Benjamin Follett-Smith.
“I have been to a fair few of Qualifying Schools over the last couple of years and I have gained some good experiences which helped this week,” Heffernan told Asian Tour Media following his 5-under 66 consisting of six birdies and the lone bogey.
“To get my Asian Tour card for this season just means a lot to me.
“It was pretty windy earlier but I made some nice putts.
“It’s been a really enjoyable week. I’ve been playing quite a bit in Asia now and I think I’ve gotten used to the temperature. I feel more prepared this year.”
The last of Scott Strange’s two Asian Tour wins came 14 years ago and as the 42-year-old eyes off a busier schedule in 2020 has noticed a significant change in the playing depth now found in Asia.
“I have been playing in Japan over the last few years and I thought I would try and get my Asian Tour card and give myself an opportunity to play more this season,” said Strange, who shot an even-par round of 71 to finish tied for ninth.
“The playing standards on the Asian Tour have gotten better over the years.
“That’s where it’s going to go. Everything gets better. There are so many kids out here now. The boy I played with (in the third round) is only in his 20s. I think he wasn’t even born when I turned professional.
“When I first came out here, the average age was about 30.”
Qualifying School Final Stage
Lake View Resort and Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand
2 Will Heffernan 71-66-70-68-66—341
T9 Scott Strange 69-69-66-70-71—345
T17 Ben Eccles 70-72-68-68-69—347
T17 Cory Crawford 71-71-66-70-69—347
T23 Kevin Yuan 68-72-69-72-67—348
T36 Andrew Martin 71-69-74-67-69—350
T40 Taewook Koh 70-73-66-70-72—351
T40 Rick Kulacz 73-68-69-69-72—351
T40 Dale Brandt-Richards 68-72-68-72-71—351
T72 Campbell Rawson 68-69-75-70—282
T84 Blake Collyer 71-72-67-73—283
T84 Jack Lane-Weston 70-72-69-72—283
T84 Daniel Gale 74-70-68-71—283
MC John Lyras 75-72—147
MC Matthew Lisk 75-75—150
MC David Gleeson 75-76—151