Four New South Wales players have earned playing rights for the 2024 Asian Tour.
Picton’s Justin Warren (3rd), Sam Brazel from Lismore (16th), Flinders Jordan Zunic 23rd, and Bexley-based Harrison Crowe (27th) will join two other Aussies, Maverick Antcliff (17th), and Lachlan Barker (30th), on the world’s fastest growing tour after a gruelling 90-hole Final Stage Qualifying at the Jack Nicklaus designed Springfield Royal Country Club in Hua Hin, Thailand.
After a listless opening two rounds, which saw him well back in a tie for 61st, Warren, coached by Gary Barter at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney, sizzled home over the final three rounds with scores of 62, 68 and 68.
Warren looked like he was headed for medallist honours at one stage during the final round. It wasn’t to be, however, and the combination of a late bogey on the par-three 17th plus a pair of eagles on the homeward nine for the eventual medallist, Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg.
Sam Brazel will make a welcome return to familiar grounds, having been a regular on the Asian Tour for over a decade. Brazel’s win in the co-sanctioned (Asia/DPWT) Hong Kong Open at Fanling in 2016, is the highlight of the Lismore golfer’s career to date.
Brazel has been in good form of late and impressed in last year’s Australian Open, finishing in a tie for 8th.
Flinders Jordan Zunic, a former New Zealand Open winner, will be delighted to be able to play closer to home after three years of toil on the Secondary European Challenge Tour.
Zunic, who only qualified for this week after flying home in the final round of stage I just the week before in Pattaya, began the final stage slowly with an opening three over 74. He held his nerve, though, grinding out four clinical sub-par rounds to finish comfortably inside the top 35 cutoff.
The move of the day undoubtedly came from the 2022 NSW Open Champion, Harrison Crowe.
Well outside the top 35 to begin the final round, Crowe steamrolled his way over the back nine (his opening nine) in just 30 shots to vault into the all-important top 35.
Thankfully for Crowe, his work on his opening nine did the job, with his final nine (holes one to nine) a bit of a roller-coaster with three birdies and three bogeys.
The first event the successful crew is likely eligible for is next month’s Malaysian Open, followed by the co-sanctioned (Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour) New Zealand Open in early March.