Healthy Henson back in action
Rayong, Thailand, January 9: American Berry Henson hopes to secure an Asian Tour card at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage presented by Sports Authority of Thailand to revive his career after recovering from a wrist injury.
He will be amongst the 243 players vying to finish inside top-35 and ties in the five-round Final Stage, which will be held across two courses at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club and the St. Andrews 2000 in Rayong starting Wednesday.
The 39-year-old Henson, a one-time winner on the Asian Tour and the Asian Development Tour (ADT), was sidelined by a career-threatening wrist injury where he underwent two surgeries and stopped playing competitively since June, 2016.
Henson has recovered since and made a welcome return last December where he played the season-ending Boonchu Ruangkit Championship through an invitation on the ADT. He finished a credible tied-12th.
Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, playing in his first Qualifying School this week, hopes to make up for lost time by regaining his status on the region’s premier Tour. He missed out on his Asian Tour card for the first time in 12 years after finishing 109thon the 2017 Order of Merit.
The Final Stage, which features players from over 30 different countries, will be played over five rounds (90 holes). All Final Stage entrants will play two rounds before the field is cut to the leading 140 players and ties, who will then play another two rounds.
After 72 holes, the field will be cut to the leading 70 players and ties who will then proceed to the fifth and final round held only at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club. At the conclusion of 90 holes, the top 35 players and ties will be ranked accordingly for the 2018 season.
Other notable players in the field include Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul, Australian Kieran Pratt, Daniel Chopra of Sweden and Singaporean amateur Joshua Shou, who was part of the historic men’s team gold at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
Did you know?
- Berry Henson first played the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2011. He won an Asian Development Tour (ADT) title and claimed an Asian Tour victory over a span of three weeks that year.
- Coincidentally, Henson met Dookang, who caddied for him at the 2011 Qualifying School, earlier this week. Dookang will be on Henson’s bag again this week.
- A wrist injury has curtailed Henson’s career, forcing him to stop playing since June 2016. He returned to competitive golf last month, where he played the ADT Boonchu Ruangkit Championship as a sponsor’s invite and finished tied-12th.
- The 39-year-old Henson underwent two wrist surgeries in the last 18 months but has since recovered.
- Chinnarat Phadungsil is a three-time winner on the Asian Tour. He won his first title when he was still an amateur at the 2005 Double A International Open, which was also held at the St. Andrews 2000, one of the two venues for the Qualifying School this week.
- His victory in 2005 also saw him become the record youngest player to win on Tour at the age of 17 years and five days.
- The 29-year-old Chinnarat is playing the Asian Tour Qualifying School for the first time since turning professional in 2005.
- Chinnarat lost his Asian Tour card for the first time in 12 years after finishing 109th on the 2017 Order of Merit.
- Singapore’s Joshua Shou is also aiming for a successful debut at the Asian Tour Qualifying School. He came through the first stage after finishing tied-23rd at the Rayong Green Valley Country Club last week.
- The 27-year-old Shou was part of the Singaporean team who beat Thailand in a sudden-death play-off to clinch the country’s first-ever men’s Team Gold at the SouthEast Asian Games in Malaysia last August.
- Shou is planning to turn professional after the 2018 SMBC Singapore Open next week. He is one of the four amateurs competing in the field this week.