Australian Jack Thompson graduated with first class honours today at the Asian Tour Qualifying School after winning the Final Stage by two shots from countryman John Lyras and China’s Bai Zhengkai, as he closed out with a five-under-par 66 for a five-round total of 22 under.
Bai returned a 65 while Lyras, who started the day sharing the lead with Thompson, shot a 68 at Lake View Resort and Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand.
American Michael Maguire (65) and Ye Wocheng (69) from China shared fourth, four back from the winner.
A total of 35 players out of 77 starters secured right of passage onto the Asian Tour this year.
Nine players, tied on eight under, competed in a sudden-death play-off for the last two cards which eventually went to Thomas Power Horan from Australia and England’s Ben Jones, after they both birdied the first.
Remarkably, 24-year-old Thompson made it into this week’s event by claiming the final qualifying berth at the First Stage Qualifying Section C tournament at Blue Canyon Country Club in Phuket, Thailand, at the start of the month.
Said Thompson: “This is great, I guess it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It has been a long week, I have been here for a fair few days now, it’s a relief and it’s just nice to win. There is always concern coming into an event if you can do it or not.”
Bai Zhengkai said: “This is great. I played Korn Ferry Tour 2020 to 2021, DP World Tour and Challenge Tour last year, and this year I’ll be trying the Asian Tour.
“Feels nice. I played well the last few days, feeling good and getting more familiar with the course and attacking more pins, and I think I had a pretty good week.”
A special mention to Dominic Foos. The German who bases himself in Dubai and plays out of The Els Club, Dubai had a glittering amateur career. After winning several junior amateur tournaments in Germany and internationally, Foos turned professional in 2014.
Foos played on the Challenge Tour in 2015 and won the Gant Open in August at the age of 17 years, 347 days – making him the youngest winner in Challenge Tour history.
Not long to wait for all the graduates as the first tournament on the 2023 Asian Tour schedule is the PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, February 3-6.