Asian Tour Q-School: Kearney caresses ticket to Final Stage
 Niall Kearney

Niall Kearney

Niall Kearney is poised to clinch his place at the Final Stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School next week after he fired a third round 68 to move up to ninth at the First Stage in Thailand.

The Dubliner (29) made four birdies and a bogey at Rayong Green Valley Country Club and is now seven shots inside the projected qualifying mark on five-under-par.

Limerick's Tim Rice, the reigning Irish professional champion, has it all to do in Saturday's final round after a four-over 75 at the same venue left him seven shots outside the top 30 percent who will progress on seven-over-par.

Black Bush's Stephen McCarthy and Headfort's Rory McNamara also need outstanding final rounds to have any chance of making it to next week's five-round Final Stage at Rayong Green Valley Country Club and St. Andrews 2000.

McCarthy is nine shots outside the qualifying places after a six-over 77 at St Andrews 2000 with McNamara eight strokes outside the top 30 percent at Windsor Park & Golf Club after a third round 71.

The Irish challengers are among 346 players from more than 35 countries attempting to make the leading 30 percent at each of the four First Stage venues who will qualify for the Final Stage from January 10- 14 where the top-35 and ties after 90 holes will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for 2018.

Muskerry's Niall Turner is already guaranteed some starts as he has a partial medical exemption.

Asian Tour Qualifying School, First Stage

St Andrews 2000 (Par 71, qualifying mark +3 216)

  • Scores
  • 1 Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 64 68 70 -11 (202)
  • 75 Stephen MCCARTHY (IRL) 74 74 77 +12 (225)

 

Rayong Green Valley Country Club (Par 71, qualifying mark +2, 215)

  • Scores
  • 1 Cristobal DEL SOLAR (CHI) 68 66 66 -13 (200)
  • 9 Niall KEARNEY (IRL) 70 70 68 -5 (208)
  • 67 Tim RICE (IRL) 74 72 74 +7 (220)

 

Windsor Park & Golf Club (Course A & B), Bangkok (Par 71, qualifying mark -2, 211)

  • Scores
  • 1 Han LEE (USA) 64 70 69 -10 (203)
  • 38 Rory MCNAMARA (IRL) 73 75 71 +6 (219)

 

Silky Oak Country Club, Rayong (Par 71, qualifying mark -1, 212)

  • Scores
  • 1 Nick ARMAN (USA) 68 65 68 -12 (201)