Jason Scrivener and Nathan Holman could snatch a full European Tour card for 2016 if they can muster a strong final round performance at the Hong Kong Open.
Six birdies and just one bogey highlighted Scrivener’s third round of 65, as he moved into a tie for sixth place at 9-under par, while Nathan Holman is a shot back after a third round 68.
Only those who finish the European Tour season in the top 110 will be given full status for next year. Ranked 138th and 139th for the season respectively, Holman and Scrivener need a top three finish to boost their earnings and avoid an appearance at stage three of qualifying school.
WA’s Scrivener can take confidence from last year’s breakthrough qualifying school appearance, where he shot a sixth and final round of 66 to move up 31 places to earn his card.
A win seems out of the question for the Aussie pair, who are well back of leaders Justin Rose and Lucas Bjerregaard on 15-under, but Scrivener is only two shots outside of third, which is currently occupied by President’s Cup representative Anirban Lahiri.
Even if Holman and Scrivener fail in their attempts to attain full status, a high finish in Hong Kong will greatly increase their chances of earning a significant number of starts in 2016, with conditional status awarded all the way back to 145th in the season rankings.
Of the fifteen Australians in the field, ten made the cut with a small handful playing with something greater on the line.
New South Welshman Marcus Fraser is one of those, currently tied for 23rd on 4-under par. Fraser’s 2016 season is all but secure, but at 58th in the Race to Dubai rankings, Fraser needs to maximise his earnings this week to ensure he remains in the top 60 that earn a start in the lucrative European Tour finals series.
Daniel Gaunt (121st) and Terry Pilkadaris (133rd) also need a big finish this week to boost their rankings, but currently sit at the wrong end of the standings in a tie for 52nd and 62nd place respectively.