Muskerry’s Niall Turner is poised to secure his 2016 Asian Tour card after opening with a three under 69 in the weather-reduced Philippine Open presented by ICTSI on Friday.
The 32-year old Cork star, 59th in the Order of Merit with $61,000 from just nine starts, is tied for 10th spot with just two rounds to play after making seven birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey at Luisita Golf and Country Club, two hours from Manila.
The US$300,000 Asian Tour event was reduced to 54 holes as early as Wednesday due to persistent rain caused by Typhoon Melor, which hit central Philippines on Tuesday.
Most players teed it up on Friday without a practice round but the delay didn’t seem to bother Turner too much as he recovered from that late double bogey six at the 15th with birdies at the 16th and 18th in a 27-putt round.
Canada’s Lindsay Renolds posted a flawless, six-under-par 66 to lead by one-shot fromChinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand, five-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Korean rising star Jeunghun Wang, who will represent Team Asia at the EurAsia Cup next month.
The 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines and Giwhan Kim of Korea trailed the clubhouse leader by two shots at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event staged at the Luisita Golf and Country Club.
Renolds, ranked 95th on the Order of Merit, is on a do-or-die mission to save his Asian Tour card .
The Canadian must win to break into the top-63 on the Order of Merit and retain his Tour card for 2016.
“It is a case of winning or going back to Qualifying School for me this week. I got nothing to lose this week. I’m trying to stay motivated and focussed,” the 29-year-old said.
While Niall Kearney will be back at the Q-School as he’s 107th in the money list, Turner should avoid that trip by making the cut.
Renolds was lucky to play a practice round at the Luisita course as officials closed the course on Wednesday and Thursday due to heavy rain.
“It is always an advantage seeing the course at least once. I played a quick 18 holes on Tuesday but it was very wet. I was just trying to get the round over with because I didn’t have an umbrella!” Reynolds told AsianTour.com.