Niall Kearney with coach Johnny Foster. Pic via http://www.johnnyfostergolfacademy.comNiall Kearney faces a tough battle to qualify for the final stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand later this month.

The Dubliner is tied for 30th after the first two rounds of the First Stage Section A at Imperial Lakeview with only the top 20 set to make the Final Stage battle for 40 cards.

The former Walker Cup player added a one under 71 to his opening 74 to lie two shots outside the top 20 on one over par. Scores

Thailand’s Kittiroj Chantharothai posted a two-day total of 10-under-par 134 to take a three-shot lead over compatriot Supravee Phatam.

At the Royal Thai Army Sports Centre, Korea’s Jeong Dae-eok also maintained his position at the top when he signed for a 66. Japan’s Tomoharu Otsuki is a single shot back in second place after he matched his opening round score of 68.

Over at the Banyan Golf Club, Japan’s Hirohito Koizumi, who opened with a 73, made up grounds by firing a 66 to take over the lead which had been held by Sweden’s Thomas Pettersson.

Due to the record number of entries which hit an all-time high of 761 players, the First Stage Section B will be played next week at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club and Springfield Royal Country Club to accommodate the additional players.

After four rounds, the top 15% players from each venue will qualify for the all-important Final Stage which will be held at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club and Springfield Royal Country Club from January 23 to 26.

The top-40 and ties from the Final Stage will earn their playing rights on the new 2013 Asian Tour season.

Meanwhile, Warrenpoint’s Barrie Trainor is the new professional at Old Joe’s Golf Club in Cornard Tye, Suffolk.

According to a report in the Suffolk Free Press:

The nine-hole and four-hole site, which also has a floodlit driving range, despite being a long way from his native Northern Ireland, is seen as the perfect place for Trainor to launch life after his professional career.

“I have been playing full time for the last six years since I turned professional,” he said. “My dad owned a driving range up until 2009 so I have always been involved in the golf industry and this was a good opportunity for me.

When I met Stuart (Smith, Old Joe’s manager) he seemed a very positive guy who was looking forward rather than complaining about the weather as others do elsewhere.”

Trainor, who hails from Warrenpoint in County Down, Northern Ireland, has also guaranteed a start in the Irish Open in the summer, a tournament he made the final 60 of in 2010 to finish in the prize money.

The player who beat current world number one McIlroy in a scratch matchplay event in 2006 will undertake coaching five days a week at St Joe’s and is offering half-price lessons (£10 for 30 minutes) until the end of January.