Benjamin Follett-Smith kept up his chase for an Asian Tour card by signing for a three-under-par 68 on Course C&D to grab a share of the lead following the second round of the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage on Thursday.
The 23-year-old Zimbabwean endured a tough stretch on the Sunshine Tour last year with 12 consecutive missed cuts but found the perfect place to reset at the Lake View Resort and Golf Club, where he will be hoping to be third time lucky in his Tour card chase on the Asian Tour.
Follett-Smith, placed 602nd on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), holds a one-shot lead on nine-under-par 133 alongside Japan’s Toshiumi Kushioka (69, C&D), Korea’s Hyowon Park (66, A&B) and American Dodge Kemmer (64, C&D).
“Happy to be in a good position for the remaining rounds. It’s going to be the same thing. I’m just going to focus on getting my head together and keep my mind in the game, not elsewhere,” Follett-Smith said.
Follett-Smith, who partnered fellow compatriot and Asian Tour member Scott Vincent at the 2018 World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, claimed his first title on the Sunshine Tour at the Cape Town Open last February and was the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2018.
“I’m just going to focus on getting my head together and keep my mind in the game, not elsewhere.” – Benjamin Follett-Smith
Former Asian Tour member Kemmer is attempting to regain his card after a three-year lapse at the Qualifying School, where he had previously enjoyed success with runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2016.
The 32-year-old American marked the best efforts of the day on Course C&D with a bogey-free round highlighted by five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 15th, where he coolly rolled in a seven-foot putt.
Overnight co-leader Toshiumi Kushioka of Japan, who progressed from Section A of the First Stage last month, maintained his fine form to retain his one-shot advantage in his first attempt at the 90-hole battle which was held across courses A&B and C&B.
The 2020 Asian Tour Qualifying School, which comprises of two stages – First Stage and Final stage, attracted a total of 458 entries from 37 countries across the globe.
The 36-hole cut was set at two-over-par 144 with a total of 146 players, who finished inside top 140 and ties, progressing into the next two rounds.
After 72 holes, the field will be cut again to the leading 70 players and ties, who will then play the fifth and final round. At the conclusion of 90 holes on Sunday, the leading 35 players and ties will be ranked accordingly for the 2020 season.