Kevin Phelan has earned his place on the Asian Tour after coming through a five-round slog at Qualifying School that finished on Sunday.
With 458 entries from 37 countries taking their chance from First Stage, the Waterford man fired two straight rounds of 69 after going 71, 67, 72 over the first three days to tie for 23rd at seven-under par.
With 35 cards being fought for over the five rounds, it was comfortable in the end for the former European Tour player who has had no luck on the course in recent years.
Having threatened Tour victories earlier in his career, Phelan finds himself ranked outside the top-2000 on the World Golf Rankings now but this success might just breathe new life into his game so onwards and upwards for 2020.
Meanwhile, an ecstatic Zimbabwean, Benjamin Follett-Smith fired a final round 70 to win the event at 15-under par.
“It’s amazing to win this,” said Folloett-Smith. “There are so many positives to take away from this week. It’s just one of the biggest for me. This was exactly what I wanted to do. Nothing has really sunk in yet. It’s just been tough.
“I had a tough stretch after winning on the Sunshine Tour last year. But coming here and win the Asian Tour Qualifying School just proves to me that I am actually good enough. It’s a huge thing for me personally. There’s so much more to say but I’m happy with the way I played.
“I read a book called ‘Fearless Golf’ recently and I think it kind of put things in perspective for me. I realised I need to start playing for myself and not other people so I won’t worry about what others are thinking. That got to me and I was able to go out there and enjoy my golf.
“It’s been an incredible week. Scott Vincent, obviously, has done this before and look where he is now. It’s a big thing for me to try and follow his footsteps and be as good or better one day.”
The 35 graduates feature players from Korea (8), Thailand (6), Australia (5), South Africa (3), Sweden (3), USA (2), Japan (2) and one each from France, India, Burma, Zimbabwe, Philippines and Ireland.
Full scoring HERE
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