Date: December 07, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussie trio big in Japan

Queenslander Anthony Quayle has taken another huge step in a breakout rookie season.

Quayle, who finished T19 at the Emirates Australian Open a fortnight ago, has booked himself a place to play in 2018 with an impressive performance at Japan Golf Tour Q-school.

The 23-year-old will join Andrew Evans and Aaron Wilkin among the existing Australian contingent in Japan after each advanced via the gruelling six-round qualifying finale in Ibaraki.

But it was Quayle who stole the limelight, hovering near the lead throughout before finishing outright fourth to book starts in almost all events in Japan next year.

Having won in the United States and later representing Australia at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Quayle has made a great fist of his first full-time year on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia with a string of good results including multiple top-10s and a T14 at the NSW Open.

And the Gold Coaster cashed in on his good form at precisely the right time.

"Pumped to have earned my Japan Tour card for 2018," Quayle wrote on Instagram.

"Long week over six rounds … happy to post -21.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my first year as a pro! Looking forward to some down time and then a big 2018."

Quayle will likely begin his Japan Tour season in Myanmar and Singapore before the tour’s domestic season begins in April.  

Evans also finds himself on an international tour for the first time.

The Sydneysider, famously as an absolute bolter finished runner-up to Peter Senior at the 2015 Australian Masters, finished T16 in Japan.

Queenslander Wilkin did wonderfully well to finish T23 and both men also have sufficient status to make their mark in Japan.

Meanwhile, Bryden Macpherson was on the wrong side of two tight calls in the final China Tour event of the year.

The Victorian just missed in a playoff at the Asian Golf Championship and finished within a whisker of winning the tour's order of merit crown.

The former British Amateur champion fired a closing three-under-par 69 at Kaikou Golf Club in Xiamen to push leader Bowen Xiao, of China, who dropped three shots in his final four holes to fall into a tie.

The pair headed to the 18th tee for sudden death where Macpherson breathed again when Xiao missed a short birdie putt.

But the Chinese regrouped brilliantly with a superb approach second time around to set up birdie and relegate the Aussie to runner-up.

The heartbreak didn’t end there for Macpherson whose cheque for US$38,500 left him agonisingly close to OOM crown.

Macpherson and Korea’s Rak Hyun Cho had battled for top spot all year and after Cho missed the cut, Macpherson knew a win would seal the title.

But second place could only cut the margin to less than AU$160, despite Macpherson’s seventh top five in 14 starts for the year.

And in Florida, young gun Ryan Ruffels finished his season in style with a closing 65 on the LatinoAmerica Tour's season-ending Shell Championship.

Ruffels fired six birdies in a stylish 65 that vaulted him up to a share of 12th and into 15th place on the tour's order of merit.

The top five players earnt cards on the Web.Com Tour for 2018, and Ruffels' $US50,055 was just on $US20K short of that threshold despite having played six fewer tournaments than four of those who advanced.