Rashid’s fight for Asian Tour card hangs in balance

Having missed the chance to earn full playing rights on the Asian Tour Q-school in the last two years — once through a bad staomach and once through a cold putter — Delhi youngster Rashid Khan is hoping he will get third time lucky at the ongoing final stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand. Rashid has made it to the final four rounds by playing the initial stages of the Q-school, where he finished a strong third among 100s of qualifiers with an eight-under par score and is hoping his form will see him through the final hurdle as well.

Though Rashid did not score really low numbers in the first round of the final stage, carding an even par 71, he thinks he will be able to brave the first two rounds to make the cut for a shot at the card.

"It's a really good score, considering the way I hit and putt the ball today. I'm feeling confident especially after the way I played last week at the First Stage section B. I'm looking forward to going out there again tomorrow.

I've been playing quite consistently and really well for the last five years and I feel that I'm now ready to take my game to the next level. Seeing guys like (Gaganjeet) Bhullar and (Anirban) Lahiri doing so well on the Asian Tour has given me the extra boost to do well. When you see someone doing well from your country, you hope to do the same," 21-year-old Rashid, who has started at the Springfield course, said.

While Rashid is barely above the cut mark at tied 90th, the top-placed Indian on the leaderboard is fellow youngster Ajeetesh Sandhu, who had won his maiden professional tournament at the DLF Masters in October. Sandhu, who played a handful of tournaments on the Asian Tour last season, carded three-under 68 and was lying 29th, while Delhi Golf Club's Chiragh Kumar, runner-up at the 2011 Indian Open was tied 44th with a round of 69. Following a spate of injuries, Chiragh had lost his card last year and is going the Q-school route this time.

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