Turner on the brink of Asian Tour return
 Niall Turner. Picture courtesy  asiantour.com

Niall Turner. Picture courtesy asiantour.com

It's a long way from Bangalore to Alicante but that's the journey that faces Muskerry's Niall Turner this week after he all but secured his Asian Tour card for 2015 in India.

The 31-year old, who held a full Asian Tour card in 2011 before suffering a hip injury, looks certain to win one of five cards awarded to the leading money winners on the second tier Asian Development Tour (ADT) after finishing tied for fourth in the TAKE Solutions India Masters in Bangalore.

He now heads to Spain for the Second Stage of the European Tour Q-School in Alicante this week with his confidence on the rise.

The Cork native is third on the ADT money list with $46,218 from 12 starts and with only two events of the season remaining, he's more than $10,000 clear of the player in fifth place and looking good to regain his full playing rights in Asia. 

Beaten by Shane Lowry in the final of the 2007 Irish Close Championship at Cork Golf Club, the former amateur international has had an excellent season on the Asian equivalent of the Challenge Tour.

And while he'll be looking to win his European Tour card over the next fortnight, he may well feel less pressure with an Asian Tour card waiting for him if he fails to make it through to the main tour.

Niall Turner following his maiden win. Picture courtesy asiantour.com

He won the Linc Group Jakarta Classic for his maiden ADT success in July and explained why it meant so much:

“I really needed this win. It has been quite grim in the last few years because I had a bad hip injury since 2011. That was the only thing holding me back. I was born with a defect in my hip and had to go through some surgery. My hip feels great now although I had to make slight changes in my swing.

“Winning a tournament really gives you the confidence. It will be an important few weeks on the ADT and I really want to get back on the Asian Tour. Hopefully I can stay healthy and continue my form,” said Turner, who won US$10,500 and earned six Official World Golf Ranking points.

Turner has got one win and five Top-7 finishes to his credit on the ADT this season.

He will be the only Irish plater in action at Las Colinas Golf and Country Club in Alicante in this week's Second Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.

Michael McGeady goes at El Saler, Ruaidhri McGee and Gareth Shaw at Panoramica in Castellon while David Higgins, Niall Kearney, Brendan McCarroll and Mark Murphy tee it up at Lumine Golf and Beach Club in Tarragona.

All eight are bidding for spots in the Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort near Girona next week, where they will be joined by Peter Lawrie, Kevin Phelan, Simon Thornton and Gareth Maybin in the race to finish in the Top 25 and ties after six rounds.