Hua Hin, Thailand: Two-time PGA Tour winner Daniel Chopra topped the standings in the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage, presented by Sports Authority of Thailand.
Overnight leader Chopra of Sweden, Indian Chikka S, Lee Chieh-po of Chinese Taipei and Thais Phiphatphong Naewsuk and Danthai Boonma were among 47 players who earned their Asian Tour card for 2015.
Chopra signed for a closing three-under-par 68 to win by four shots on 15-under-par 270 at the Springfield Royal Golf Club.
Finland’s Kalle Samooja, a former member of the Asian Tour, returned with the day’s lowest round of 65 to take second place while Phiphatphong placed third on 275.
American Jonathan Moore, the 2011 Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit winner, Korea’s Kim Gi-whan, Canadian Lindsay Renolds and India’s Himmat Rai were also among those who finished inside top-40 and ties.
Chopra, who fired six birdies against three bogeys, shrugged off the final round pressure and credited his experience for the victory.
“It feels really wonderful to be back on Tour. The course was really demanding off the tee. I was reminded of how focused I was when I tried to get my PGA Tour card a few years ago. That experience helped. I kept my rhythm nice and smooth and that gave me good confidence,” said the 41-year-old.
“I am feeling more relieved now. It has been tough for me for the past few years. It’s good that I belong somewhere again. I’ve learnt and crafted my game in Asia and it’s a place I would always call home. I can’t wait to start playing out here. Winning the Qualifying School makes me feel that I can win on Tour again,” added Chopra.
Phiphatphong, who won this month’s ADT Boonchu Ruangkit Championship, was proud of his effort.
“I played very well. Everything was good for me out there. Winning Boonchu’s event was a great boost of confidence for me. I have been playing well since. I am really happy to earn my card and I look forward to playing on Tour,” said the 25-year-old, a double gold medallist at the 2007 Southeast Asian Games.
All Qualifying School entrants will be eligible to compete on the ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as a gateway to the Asian Tour. The secondary circuit staged a record 21 tournaments in the 2014 season.
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