Chiragh Kumar retains card; Abhijit Singh Chadha returns on the tour after a three-year gap

Abhijit Singh Chadha Round 1 leader 1132x670Seventeen-year-old Aadil Bedi, one of the rising stars on the Indian golfing horizon who turned professional only two months back, took a giant stride in his fledgling career by qualifying for the Asian Tour on Sunday.

Three other Indians, including 23-year-old Aman Raj, former Asian Tour winner Chiragh Kumar and Abhijit Singh Chadha, also earned their Asian Tour cards after finishing inside the top-35 players and ties at the end of the fifth and final round of the 2019 Asian Tour Qualifying School’s Final Stage.

Aadil Bedi (67-72-68-69-63), the youngest player to tee up in the Final Stage, fired a sensational eight-under-63 in the last round to finish tied ninth at 16-under-339, the best among the Indians, to earn full playing rights in Asia. Notably, it was the Chandigarh-based teenager’s maiden attempt at qualification.

Bedi, one of India’s leading amateurs prior to turning professional this year who also represented the country at the 2018 Asian Games, gained 27 spots from his overnight tied 36th as a result of his bogey-free final round of 63 at the Lakeview Resort and Golf Club in Thailand on Sunday.

The supremely fit Aadil, who notched a career-best third place finish at the PGTI’s Bengaluru Open earlier this month, said, “I lost a dear friend on the first day, back home. It was tough mentally, but I managed to play well and I’m glad that it has all come together. I had that belief in myself and that I have the game to earn the card.

“Now that I’ve earned the card, there’s more purpose in my practice and I’ll be definitely looking forward to the tournaments that I get to play. It was difficult to focus at times. When there are long waits between holes, or between rounds at night, I think about my friend. But, it was a good week. I’ve played really solid in all parts of my game.”

Aman Raj (69-64-74-68-65), the 2016 PGTI Emerging Player of the Year who went on to win his first professional title at the PGTI event in Jaipur this year, made the progression to the Asian Tour for the first time in his career after finishing tied 13th at the Q School with a total of 15-under-340. The Patna-based professional’s flawless final round of six-under-65 featured some long birdie conversions and propelled him 14 places from his overnight tied 27th.

Aman said, “My putting was exceptional through the week. The second round of 64 set up the week for me. It gave me the belief that I could finish inside the top-5. I now look forward to my first full season on the Asian Tour.”

Chiragh Kumar finished tied 35th at 10-under-345 to retain his Asian Tour card. Abhijit Singh Chadha, who also took a share of 35th place, claimed his card to make a return to the Asian Tour after a gap of three years. Both players shot final rounds of even-par-71 to drop 15 places from their overnight tied 20th.

The event was won by American Austen Truslow who totaled 24-under-331.

The four other Indians who had made the fourth round cut of the top-70 and ties but did not finish among the top-35 and ties after round five and thus missed their card, were Amardip Malik and Veer Ahlawat (both tied 57th at seven-under-348), Karandeep Kochhar (tied 65th at five-under-350) and Gaurav Pratap Singh (71st at even-par-355).