Golfer Howe takes on Asia with partial Australian exemption

FORMER Nullawarre golfer Quinton Howe was yesterday bound for Thailand hoping to secure a card for the Asian Tour.

Howe, 27, will tee off in stage one of qualifying school at Imperial Lakeview Golf Club, Hua Hin on Wednesday.

The tournament is the first of two stages golfers must succeed at to win a berth on the Asian Tour, which last year had 27 events worth up to $US3,000,000.

He needs to finish in the top 15 per cent to progress to the second stage, from January 23 to 26 across two Thai courses. A top-40 finish there would earn him a full tour card.

The Thailand bid comes after Howe finishing equal 19th in the Australasian PGA Tour qualifying school yesterday.

Rounds of 77, 69, 70 and 74 at Peninsula Golf Club, Frankston, gave him a score of two-over-par 290, 13 shots behind runaway winner Troy Cox.

The score placed him in “tournament exemption category 13”, for those who finished between 11th and 40th.

He will receive invitations to play most state-based championships and top-tier events on the Australasian PGA Tour, depending on entries.

Howe yesterday played up the result as another step as he attempts to forge a full-time golf career.

But he rued a disastrous back nine which had him bogey holes 12, 15  and double bogey 18.

“It wasn’t bad. I lost a ball at the last hole which wasn’t that great, but you get that,” he said.

“It should hopefully get me most starts (on the Australasian PGA Tour), depending on who enters in what tournaments and other tours like OneAsia.

“It might get me a Masters berth, a few New Zealand ones, the Queensland PGA Championship.”

Howe said he started the qualifying school tournament wanting to place in the top 10. Such a result would have given him entry to the Australian Open, Australian Masters, Australian PGA Championship and Perth International.

A handful of events on the lucrative OneAsia Tour would have also beckoned.

“Top 10 you walk away from tour school knowing you’re going to get starts in the big four,” he said.

“My category, 11 to 40, I’m a hung person. There’s an 80 per cent chance I’ll get into the big four depending on who enters.

“It leaves you in that spot where you’re wondering.”

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