No joy for Kearney in Asian Tour Qualifying School
Niall Kearney. Picture: Getty

Niall Kearney. Picture: Getty

Niall Kearney’s bid to win his Asian Tour card ended in disappointment as final round 73 left him seven shots outside the top 35 and ties at Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club in Bangkok

The Dubliner, 28, went into the final rounds of the Final Stage needing a round in the 60s to have any chance of earning a full card for 2017.

As it turned out, he would have needed a six under par 66 but he signed for one over par effort that leaves him with decisions to make about where he plays in 2017.

Needing a fast start, he went the other way instead, dropping shots at the par-five second and par-three fifth to make an already tough task even more difficult.

A birdie at the ninth as the only bright spot of the day and he finished with nine pars to share 93rd place on seven under 281 after rounds of 71, 67, 70 and 73.


Kearney’s plight brings home the difficulty of winning a card on a major tour.

Winner of the South of Ireland and Brabazon Trophy titles in a Walker Cup career, he twice won the Irish Professional Championship and has shown huge determination and professionalism as he has matured.

Like many top Irish amateurs, he excels on difficult tests — he was 25th in the 2015 British Masters at Woburn — but fares less well when it’s a power and putting test, as often happens on the Challenge Tour.

Muskerry’s Niall Turner, who has a medical exemption for the Asian Tour this year, pointed out that learning to go low is an art form that’s alien to Irish amateurs.

“It’s important the guys are playing the right tour and straight out of college,” Turner said last week. "I played on mini tours in America where you needed to shoot 30 under par every week and it wasn’t the best move.

“I wasn’t a great putter at the time — I was the typical Irish golfer, really good on tough courses, being able to shoot even par. But then when it came down to shooting  five, six under every day, I struggled massively. I became just another number out there when I would have been quite a good amateur player. 

“That’s the main thing for young guys, especially if they are playing challenge Tour. The courses on the Challenge Tour are generally very easy and fellas have to be able to shoot five or six under par.

“So I tell young lads to go out and play off the green tees at their home course or even off the red tees. The more you shoot five or six under or put your mind in that place, the better it will be. 

“If you are thinking even par, that is what you are going to shoot all the time regardless of what course you play on. The biggest thing is to get guys out shooting low numbers.

“In the past, I would have always looked to play of the tips wherever I was going. But now I enjoy playing as far up as I can and actually shooting as low a score as I can. That’s the biggest determining factor in whether you can succeed in pro golf. It’s how low can you go really.”

As for the Asian Tour Q-School, Australia’s Richard Green closed with a nine under 63 to finish tied for first with compatriot Todd Sinnot (62) on 28 under par before beating him with a birdie in a play-off to take the top card.