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Stage One Asian Tour School continues

(Photo: Bruce Young)
Hua Hin, Thailand, January 15: Rashid Khan of India and former Malaysian Open champion Yeh Wei-tze of Chinese Taipei will be among the aspirants at the Asian Tour Qualifying School First Stage Section B when the race to qualify for next week's all-important Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand continues on Wednesday.

A total of 297 hopefuls will tee up inthe First Stage Section B at the Springfield Royal Country Club and Imperial Lakeview Golf Club with the top 15% finishers after four rounds qualifying from each venue for the next stage slated from January 23 to 26.

A total of 195 players are already exempted into the Final Stage at Imperial Lakeview and Springfield Royal which include 46 players from last week's First Stage Section A. The top-40 finishers and ties at the Final Stage will earn Tour cards for 2013.

Highly rated Khan is hoping to be third time lucky in his quest for an Asian Tour card after retiring from the halfway stage of the 2011 Qualifying School due to illness and then missing the grade last year.

Relying on sponsors' invitations and limited appearances on the Asian Tour, Khan played in seven Asian Tour events last season, making five cuts which included his best result of tied 29th at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia.

The slender Indian, a member of the silver medal winning team in the 2010 Asian Games, is hoping to translate his impressive form on the local circuit at the Qualifying School as he won once and made 18 cuts in 19 appearances.

Yeh sprung a major surprise when he won the co-sanctioned Malaysia Open in 2000, defeating a top field which included Germany's Bernhard Langer and Irishman Padraig Harrington. In recent years, he has played in Japan in but is hoping to make a return onto the Asian Tour.

Former European Tour player Pelle Edberg of Sweden, Guy Woodman of England, who earned an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School last year, Korea's Kang Ji-man, Timothy Low of Singapore and Venezuelan Wolmer Murillo are also in the field.

Australians in the field trying to gain access to the Final Stage include at the Lakeview course are Blake McGrory, Brendan Lee, Daniel Bringolf, Evan Brawn, Henry Y. Huang, Jack Munro, James Gibellini, Kevin Marques, Kristian Bobanovic, Mark Varela, Matthew McBain, Matthew Stieger, Shane Mchenry while Trevor Marshal is the only New Zealander in the field.

At the Springfield course are Alex Katholos, Andrew Campbell, Anthony R. Brunero, Anthony Smith, Brad Fasher, Chris Carey, Corey Gerrard, Daniel Griffin, Darren Garrett, Darren Tan, David Lutterus, David Wilson, Dimitrios Papadatos, Jake Stirling, Justin Smith, Kesava Nair, Kunal Bhasin, Lee Won Joon, Martin Dive, Michael Freake, Michael Hansen, Nabil Abdul, Ryan O'Flaherty, Shaun Moulds and Wade Lowrie. Former New Zealand Eisenhower representative Kevin Chun is the only New Zealander at this venue.

This year's Asian Tour Qualifying Schools have attracted a record 748 players, by far surpassing last year's total of 580 players.

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