By Brian Keogh
Ryder Cup legend Philip Walton could be heading for Borneo in a brave bid to extend his playing career.
The Dubliner has set his sights on Asia and an eventual return to the European Tour
The hero of Oak Hill in 1995 is planning to tee it up in the Asian Tour Qualifying School at Sabah in Malaysia - formerly known as north Borneo.
Walton, 45, will join a 500 strong contingent of players from around the world bidding to earn their share of a $27 (€19) million prize fund from 27 Asian Tour events in 2008.
And with at least nine events on the Asian Tour schedule co-sanctioned by the European Tour, Walton sees the far east as a land of promise for his flagging career.
He said: "It makes sense to head out to Asia because of the co-sanctioned events.
"There is good money to be earned out there and you will get nearly as many starts on the European Tour as a guy coming through the European Tour School in Spain."
Of the 35 players who earned Tour cards through last year's school at San Roque, few have managed to avoid a return to the Spain in November.
Joint winner Carlos Rodiles got 24 starts and retained his playing rights at 85th in the Order of Merit.
But Brazilian Alexandre Rocha is 155th after 25 starts while third placed David Drysdale is 200th after just 23 tournaments.
Frederik Andersson Hed, Oliver Fisher and Pelle Edberg were the big success stories amongst the graduates.
But he likes of Sven Struver, Patrik Sjoland, Notah Begay, Carl Suneson, Santiago Luna and Alex Cejka have all ended up in limbo again.
By contrast, Asian Tour money leader Wen-Chong Liang is 80th on the European Order of Merit from 12 starts.
Liang won the co-sanctioned Singapore Masters to pocket €140,000 and also tied for ninth in Qatar, which counts on both tours.
Walton said: "It's worth giving it a try. I have played just four European Tour events on invites this year but I feel that my game is not far away.
"It's definitely worth giving it a go in Asia so I'm going to put in an entry for the Tour School over there and give it a lash.
"My back has been bad this year as well so the weather there won't do me any harm at all."
The Qualifying School will feature two stages of strokeplay competition, with the First Stage being held over two separate weeks (November 7-10 and December 5-8) in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah.
The courses which will be used are Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club and Borneo Golf and Country Club.
The final stage will be held at Sutera Harbour and Sabah Golf Club from December 12-15 where the top-40 finishers and ties will earn playing rights for the 2008 season.
Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, Korea’s Charlie Wi and Korean-American Kevin Na have all made it to the PGA Tour.
India’s Shiv Kapur and Australian Andrew Buckle have also done well abroad while former Asian No 1 Simon Dyson is now a contender for Ryder Cup honours next year.
Kilkenny's Gary Murphy won the Asian Q-School in the Philippines in 1997 and played in Asia for two winters, holding on to his card each time.
European Tour regular Peter Lawrie also used the Asian Tour as a training ground before making the breakthrough.
Walton is no longer a youngster starting off but badly needs to stay competitive if he is to be a force in the Seniors game when he turns 50 in February 2012.
He's played 18 events on the Irish Region schedule this term, winning three pro-ams and finishing 13th on the money list.
(Maguire twins show youngsters the way)
Twins sensations Lisa and Leona Maguire will play an exhibition at Grange Golf Club in Dublin tomorrow.
The 12 year old Cavan aces will team up with Grange boys Robbie Pierse and Darragh Joyce in a juvenile exhibition at noon, designed to encourage more youngsters to take up the game.
Both girls play off two and made history this year by becoming the youngest golfers to tee it up in a Ladies European Tour event at the Northern Ireland Ladies Masters.
Lisa is the 2007 World Under 12 champion and showed her class this year by winning the Leinster Girls title and reaching the final of the Irish Ladies Close.
Sister Leona has also had a brilliant year, finishing third behind Lisa in the World Under 12 championships and winning the Connacht and Scottish Girls titles.
Pierse, 14, and Joyce, 17, both play off five and the junior convenors from neighbouring clubs such as Castle, Milltown, Stackstown, Elm Park, Edmondstown and Rathfarnham are invited to check out the action.
(Harrington for Limerick)
Padraig Harrington will bring the Claret Jug to Limerick Golf Club tomorrow.
The Dubliner will cut the ribbon to officially open the brand new, €3.8 million clubhouse before jetting out to Scotland for the Dunhill Links Championship with Limerick GC member JP McManus.
Secretary manager and Irish international Pat Murray is delighted that Harrington has taken time out to open the new facilities at 7.30pm.
Murray said: "It's a great new facility. We've been open since the August bank holiday but we are really looking forward to having the Open champion doing the official opening."