France’s Billot sets pace at Asian Tour Q-School
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
HUA HIN, Thailand – More than 300 players, representing over 30 countries, are at three venues in Hua Hin this week, trying to advance to the final stage of Asian Tour Qualifying School.
Frenchman Jean Nicolas Billot got off to a hot start at the first stage of Q-School, opening with a 7-under 65 on Wednesday.
Billot, a former Alps Tour and Challenge Tour player, has a two-shot lead over Canadian Dion Sirianni and Japanese Masamichi Uehira at the Majestic Creek Golf Resort, where the top 24 and ties at the end of four rounds will move onto the final stage next week.
At the Springfield Royal Country Club, Kenichi Sawada of Japan posted a 67 to lead Calle Stjarnfalt of Sweden by a stroke, while Nadeem Inayat of Pakistan and Yuto Watanabe of Japan carded 69s for a share of third place. The quartet are in the running for the 11 coveted tickets to the final stage.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Thitiphan Chuayprakong shot 68 and has a two-shot cushion over six players at the Imperial Lakeview Golf Club, where the top 26 and ties will advance. Italian Andrea Signore, David Palm of Sweden, Korean Yong Jea-byun, Welshman Llewellyn Matthews, Jonathan Moore of the United States and Sandeep Grewal of England are tied for second.
Currently, 117 players already are exempted into the final stage, scheduled for Jan. 19-22 at Springfield Royal and Imperial Lakeview. The top 40 players at the conclusion of the final stage will earn 2011 Asian Tour cards. Some players who compete in qualifying school also will be eligible for memberships on the Asian Development Tour.
Information from the Asian Tour contributed to this report.