4/11/2013 – Auckland professional Richard Lee has won a Third Stage Qualifying event for the Japan Golf Tour in 2014.
The 40-year-old carded rounds of 65, 67, 65 and 66 at the Sunny Field Golf Club in Ibaraki for a 21-under par total to win the event by five strokes.
Lee, who has carded only two bogeys in his last six rounds of competitive golf, said it was nice to win but he had not achieved his goal just yet.
He is looking to join Michael Hendry and David Smail on the tour in 2014.
“It doesn’t mean anything that I won the event,” he said.
“Personally it was nice to play well and put four solid rounds together. Although I went pretty deep I still have some areas of my game that I need to work on before the final stage starting December 5th.”
The third stage of qualifying comprised of six tournaments held around Japan all with around 104 players competing for 29 spots.
Lee said his event in Ibaraki – a two hour drive from the Tokyo International Airport – had the ideal conditions for going low.
“We had perfect weather for all rounds,” he said. “The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus so it had massive undulating greens.”
The task doesn’t get any easier for Lee at the Final Stage which will be completed over six rounds at the Mie Prefecture.
There are about 200 players over two courses with a four round cut to top 100 players and then another two rounds to decide the graduates for the Japan Golf Tour in 2014.
Lee has to finish inside the top 30 players to get starts at the start of next year’s tour.
The former Japan Golf Tour player is hoping for some competitive play on the PGA Tour of Australasia ahead of the final stage.
He is currently fifth reserve for this week’s Australian PGA Championship, from his OneAsia Tour School ranking, and he is also hoping to get a start in the Australian Open which is the week before the Final Stage.
“I am enjoying playing some quality golf at the moment. Normally I have a few bogeys a round but right now I am cutting out those mistakes and playing pretty well. I want to play as much as possible.”
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