Kearney cruising at Asian Q-School — set for big year

Niall Kearney following his win in the Titleist PGA Playoffs in Turkey last year

Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney is looking comfortable at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand.

The reigning Irish PGA champion opened with a three under par par 68 at Springfield Royal Country Club to share 23rd place after Wednesday's first round before then added a two under par 70 on the Imperial Lakeview course in Hua Han on Thursday to move to five under. Scores

ith the top 40 and ties earning Asian Tour cards for the 2015 season, 26-year old Team Ireland golfer is hoping to give himself even more playing options in what looks like being a busy season.

He's already guaranteed more than a dozen starts on the Challenge Tour with the Scottish and Irish events now on his schedule thanks to his win in last year's Titleist PGA Playoffs in Turkey last year.

hat victory also secured his place in the BMW PGA at Wentworth and as the leading money winner and top dog on the PGA Irish Region's Order of Merit, he has a great case for a spot in the Irish Open at Royal County Down.

While the leading player from the Irish Order of Merit generally get to play in the Irish Open, it remains to be seen if a non-PGA professional such as Kearney will be allowed to take up one of those spots.

With or without the Irish Open, the Irish circuit has certainly been a huge help to the 2009 Walker Cup player and former Brabazon Trophy winner.

ow a far more confident and mature player, he has made great strides with his game under PGA professional John Kelly, finishing 97th in the Challenge Tour rankings despite getting just 11 starts in 2014.

He made nine cuts but knows that having learned that art, his next goal must be to challenge for the top finishes and victories that will give him a chance to graduate to the main tour via the Challenge Tour rankings.