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Korean Lee tops the class at Asian Tour Qualifying School

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Korea’s Seungtaek Lee outclassed the field by closing with a second straight four-under-par 67 to claim a one-shot victory at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Lee, playing his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School, fired three birdies in his closing four holes to top the 243-man field with a five-day total of 14-under-par 341 at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club.

Lee is among the 44 players, including former winners Australian David Gleeson, India’s Himmat Rai, Thailand’s Thammanoon Sriroj and Udorn Duangdecha, who secured their Tour cards for the new season after finishing inside top-35 and ties following the 90-hole battle.

Overnight co-leader Sorachut Hansapiban of Thailand stumbled with a bogey on the last to sign for a 68 and finish second on his own. The 27-year-old Thai took solace with his runner-up finish as he finally earned his Tour card after missing out in his last two consecutive attempts.

American Kurt Kitayama, who turns 25 today, gave himself the perfect birthday present when he closed with a 66 to finish three shots back in third place alongside Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn (66), Australian duo Travis Smyth (68) and Steven Jeffress (70).

The 2018 Asian Tour Qualifying School Final stage saw 243 hopefuls from over 30 countries vying for their playing rights at the start of the week. The first cut was made after 36 holes and a total of 153 players made it into the third and fourth round.

A further cut was made after 72 holes and 78 players progressed into the fifth and final round where a total of 44 players from 12 countries securing their Tour cards for the 2018 season after making the cut-off mark set at two-under-par 353.

Players who missed the grade are eligible to play on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), which was launched as a gateway to the region’s premier Tour in 2010. The top-five finishers on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will be awarded with playing rights on the Asian Tour for the following season.