Rayong, Thailand, 10 Jan 2018

Rahul Bajaj shoots fiery 65 to be clubhouse leader on Day 1 of Asian Tour Q School Final Stage

Rahul Bajaj of India came up with a fiery six-under-65 at the St. Andrews 2000 course in Thailand to take the clubhouse lead on the opening day of the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage.

Bajaj, a silver medallist from the 2010 Asian Games, led the field on the weather-affected first day by one shot as Thailand’s Atthaphon Sriboonkaew and Australian Steven Jefferess carded scores of 66 to be placed joint second.
Rahul, playing in his second attempt at the Qualifying School, nailed four straight birdies in his closing five holes to take his place atop the leaderboard in the opening round, which was disrupted by a lengthy suspension in the morning due to inclement weather.

Bajaj, who missed the mark in his first attempt at the Asian Tour Q School in 2016, teed off from the first hole at St. Andrews 2000 and reeled in five birdies before dropping a shot on the sixth. He bounced back straightaway with two consecutive birdies from seventh before sparkling a birdie streak from 14.
The first round of the Final Stage was suspended at 8.29 am local time due to lightning threats before resuming at 12.45 pm. It was later abandoned for the day at 6.10 pm due to fading light. All 123 players in the afternoon session will return at 7.00 am on Thursday to resume their rounds with the second round slated to commence at 10.00 am.

Nine out of 14 Indians in the field completed their rounds on Wednesday.

After Rahul Bajaj, Honey Baisoya and Manu Gandas had the next best score among the Indians. Baisoya and Gandas were placed tied 49th with matching scores of one-over-72.

Angad Cheema, Viraj Madappa and Deepinder Singh Kullar were in tied 62nd place with identical rounds of 73.

Samarth Dwivedi was a further stroke back in tied 78th while Veer Ahlawat and Gaurav Pratap Singh were in tied 93rd place after returning scores of 75.

The Final Stage of the Qualifying School, which features 243 players from over 30 different countries, will be played over five rounds (90 holes) across two courses, Rayong Green Valley Country Club and St. Andrews 2000. All Final Stage entrants will play two rounds before the field is cut to the leading 140 players and ties, who will then play another two rounds.
After 72 holes, the field will be cut to the leading 70 players and ties who will then proceed to the fifth and final round held only at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club. At the conclusion of 90 holes, the top 35 players and ties will be ranked accordingly for the 2018 season.
Source: Asian Tour

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