Golf Australia

Finally, the rub of the Green

Richard Green
Richard Green proudly displays the medal for winning the Asian Tour's Q-School at the weekend. Picture: ASIAN TOUR

The quirky gods of golf smiled upon Richard Green at the weekend, easing his European pain with an Asian Tour card.

Green, 45, had, by an extraordinary set of circumstances in November, lost his rights to play in Europe after both Branden Grace and Alex Noren passed him on the Tour’s career money list in the dying weekend of the season.

Suddenly looking for a playing “home” after the Australian summer, the former Australian Masters champion teed it up in the Asia Tour’s qualifying school last week and not only found a card, but beat Todd Sinnott – remarkably a former clubmate at Melbourne’s Kooringal Golf Club – in a playoff to determine the medallist.

New South Welshman Jake Higginbottom and Victorian Marcus Both also won cards with exemplary golf at the Suvarnabhumi Golf and Country Club in Thailand, but it was Green who walked away with the biggest smile.

Having both playing extraordinary golf to reach 28 under through four rounds, Green backed up his closing 63 with a birdie on the first playoff hole to edge Sinnott, despite his stellar 62 to reach that point.

“I guess the world has strange ways of repaying you for your misfortune,” Green said with a grin.

“I’ve a lot to be thankful for. I started to work with a new coach in Australia and he has seriously helped me a lot in the last couple of weeks. I was really struggling towards the end of the year and the work we did sort of led up to this event.

“I really wanted to come here and play well and I’m glad I did that as I feel like my game is back to where it should be. It’s nice to have a season of golf ahead of me now. I’m busy again.

“At one stage towards the end of the year, just before the Australian Open when I got the news from the European Tour, I thought I would be out of job but now it looks like it’s going to be a busy year. I’m very happy with that.”

Sinnott, 24, could consider himself a little unlucky for having compiled the equal third lowest total score in a four-round Asian Tour tournament only to find himself in second place.

But the young Melburnian was only thinking about the positives.

“The main objective was to come here and get my card. I achieved that and 28 under is my best score that I’ve ever shot in four rounds. There was a disappointing spin at the end of the playoff, but it’s OK,” Sinnott said.

“I grew up at the same golf course as Richard, so he is always someone I look up to.

“I got my card and that’s all that matters – I’ve only been to China and Korea before this week and it’s going to be a whole new experience for me, travelling around Asia and playing in some of the bigger events.”

“Finishing second will obviously motivate me to try to get the big win now.”

Higginbottom’s closing 63 enabled him to finish T5, meaning he, Green and Sinnott all earn starts in this week’s season-opening Singapore Open alongside tournament favourite and compatriot Adam Scott.

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