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308 players ready for first stage of qualifying school
January 11, 2011

A total of 308 players from over 30 countries will be aiming to cross the first hurdle at the Asian Tour Qualifying School when the First Stage takes place over three venues in Hua Hin, Thailand from Wednesday.

The Imperial Lakeview Golf Club will host 130 players where the top-26 finishers after four rounds will qualify for the all-important Final Stage from January 19 to 22 while 122 will feature at the Majestic Creek Golf Resort with 24 tickets available for the Final Stage. A total of 56 players will challenge for 11 Final Stage tickets at the Springfield Royal Country Club.

Currently, a total of 116 players are already exempted into the Final Stage presented by the Sports Authority of Thailand to be held at Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal. The top-40 finishers will earn playing rights for the 2011 season.

A provisional schedule with a minimum 25 tournaments has been announced for the Asian Tour in 2011.

Players who compete in the Qualifying School will also be eligible for memberships on the Asian Development Tour, the region’s secondary circuit, where a minimum of five tournaments will be staged in the new season.

In total, this year’s field of 424 hopefuls exceed last year’s turnout of 376 players and they will be aiming to emulate the feats of past Qualifying School graduates such as Thai hero Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion and Asia’s number one Noh Seung-yul of Korea.

Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, who finished third on the Order of Merit last season with two victories, also earned his card in 2010 through Qualifying School.

Other graduates who have become Tour champions include Korea’s Charlie Wi, India’s Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal, England’s Simon Dyson, Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Malaysia’s Ben Leong, Australian Scott Hend and more recently last year Siddikur of Bangladesh and South African Peter Karmis.

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