Next week’s Christmas lunch will taste that just little bit sweeter after seven Australians secured their playing rights on the Asian Tour for 2019.
New South Welshman Steven Jeffress was the best performer at the season-ending BNI Indonesian Masters won by Thailand’s Poom Saksansin but it was the all-important Habitat for Humanity Order of Merit that served as the ultimate leaderboard.
Entering the week in 60th position – the cut-off to retain playing rights for the following year – Marcus Fraser opened with a 1-over 73 at Royal Jakarta Golf Club but recovered with a 68 in the second round to qualify for the weekend, his finishing position of tied for 28th just enough to hold steady in 60th spot.
Andrew Dodt was forced to endure a nervous wait over the weekend after missing the cut but dropped just one place on the Order of Merit to end the year in 58th spot, giving him the option to play in Asia next year or a limited schedule in Europe after he was unable to keep his card on the European Tour.
Daniel Nisbet’s win at the New Zealand Open earlier in the year provided the backbone of his Asian Tour season, the Queenslander the highest-placed Aussie on the Order of Merit in 26th position.
Like Nisbet, Terry Pilkadaris missed the cut in Indonesia but comfortably kept his card by finishing 32nd on the Order of Merit with New Zealand’s Ben Campbell, Jake McLeod, Jake Higginbottom and Travis Smyth the others to finish inside the top-60.
Ironically, the two best performing Australians this week were two of the players to just miss out on keeping their cards.
Jeffress recorded his fourth top-20 result of the year to move up six places to 71st on the moneylist while Jarryd Felton’s tie for 20th saw him rise three places to 70th.
Needing a big week to make inroads into the top-60, Andrew Martin was tied for 57th at the completion of four rounds to end the year in 63rd position while a 6-over 78 in the third round proved costly for Josh Younger, his tie for 35th seeing him finish 69th on the Order of Merit.
Although he made the cut, Maverick Antcliff’s tie for 49th saw him drop one spot on the moenylist to be 77th with Kiwi Gareth Paddison, Matt Stieger, David Gleeson and Adam Blyth also failing to qualify for the weekend.
Stage One of Asian Tour Qualifying School kicks off on Wednesday at the Lakeview Resort and Golf CLub in Hua Hin, Thailand where Aussies Cameron John, Dale Brandt-Richards, Rubendra Lal and Shae Wools-Cobb and New Zealand amateur Shiv Sabherwal will be out to progress to final stage that begins on Boxing Day.
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