Ablett sets sights on Asian Tour stint

Lee-on-the-Solent's James Ablett
Lee-on-the-Solent's James Ablett
Harry Ellis. Picture: PA Images

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James Ablett has revealed he is preparing to look east in a bid to further his career.

The 33-year-old Lee-on-the-Solent professional harbours ambitions to earn a place among the elite on the European Tour and still feels his game is improving.

The talented left-hander will set out to win a place at Qualifying School once again this year, having narrowly missed out on a spot in stage two last term.

But if it doesn’t happen this time around, Ablett plans to try his luck on the Asian Tour having become frustrated at the lengthy downtime between the domestic seasons.

Ablett explained: ‘There is the odd bit of South Region winter series stuff but it doesn’t really start for me again until mid-April on the Jamega Tour.

‘I have hardly played since November and I’m pulling my hair out. All you can do is practice.

‘It’s hard not doing anything. There’s a chance to be competitive and earn money elsewhere so you have to take a bit of a gamble sometimes.

‘So if I don’t get my European Tour card this year, I’ll definitely go for Asian Tour qualifying.’

With lucrative events in Thailand, Malayasia, Singapore and Hong Kong on the schedule, Ablett knows there is a good opportunity to boost his ranking to earn invitations to other tournaments.

He said: ‘A couple of English guys I know have qualified for the Asian Tour and they get more starts from their Asian Tour ranking than they do from their European Tour ranking.

‘People like Miles Tunnicliffe and a few others have done it.

‘There are some big money events in Asia.

‘It’s a back-up at the moment. If I don’t get my card, I have to do something in the winter. It’s a chance to earn some money.’

Ablett’s bid for a European Tour card bit the dust at stage one in Dundonald, Scotland, last year, when he missed out on qualification for the next phase by just one stroke in tough weather conditions.

But Ablett, who is preparing to jet out to Arizona for the Scottsdale Classic Pro-Am later this month, has not been deterred from gearing up for another challenge.

He said: ‘If you still think you are improving, then you keep going.

‘I think I’ve made a lot of progress with my game. I understand a bit more about how my swing works and the things that can create problems for me.

‘I had a great run during the season and won six out of nine events but it didn’t quite happen for me at the back end of the season and that’s the frustrating thing when Tour School comes around.’