Byrne survives crisis to secure Asian card

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Banchory’s James Byrne survived a potentially demoralising nine on his card early on to earn playing rights on this year’s Asian Tour by finishing joint 21st in the Final Qualifying School at Hua Hin, Thailand.

The previous weekend, the Northern Open champion and former Walker Cup player gained pass marks at the South African PGA Sunshine Tour so he is delighted to have doubled his options of where to play in 2013.

With the leading 40 and ties the “magic number” in Thailand, Byrne was sitting pretty in joint third place with a round to go after scoring 74-65-64.

But the last-day score of 77 at the Springfield Royal par-71 course gave hima five-under par final total of 280.


That meant the Scot had made it with just one stroke to spare, along with three Englishmen - Miles Tunnicliffe, Steve Lewton and Chris Rodgers. The leading 41 players with totals of 281 and better gained playing rights.

Byrne, who had his 24th birthday on January 2, said: “Delighted to have secured my Asian Tour card.

‘‘Having made a nine at the start of such an important round for my future was tough to deal with mentally.

“I was really nervous over the last 11 holes but I managed to keep my emotions in check and not make a bogey. I’m really proud of the way I handled it.

“It was maybe a bold decision to enter two qualifying schools in consecutive weeks on different continents and I think I played 13 rounds in 14 days. So to come through that is great and now I’ve got plenty options for the year ahead.


“Both tours are very strong and the bonus is that they both have several co-sanctioned events with the European Tour, so the opportunities are there for me.

“On Monday I’m away to Malaysia for an Asian Developmental Tour event. First Asian Tour event is the Myanmar Open in three weeks.”

Byrne has a base in Singapore where his mother has many relations.

American-Korean Chan Kim won the Asian Tour Q tournament with a total of 13-under-par 272.

Jack Doherty, the only other Scot apart from Byrne in the field, failed to survive the halfway cut with scores of 73 and 72 for 145.