| Clearwater Bay Open Re­view

Nick Voke won his third PGA TOUR Se­ries-China in four events at the sea­son-end­ing RMB 2 mil­lion Clearwater Bay Open.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Louie Chan

New Zealand’s Nick Voke won his third PGA TOUR Se­ries-China in four events at the sea­son-end­ing RMB 2 mil­lion Clearwater Bay Open to bank RMB 360,000 and fin­ished third on the Or­der of Merit, so join­ing four other Tour play­ers on next year’s 2019 Web.com Tour, writes Louie Chan.

Start­ing the fi­nal day five strokes clear, Voke shot a third con­sec­u­tive 3-un­der 67 for a 14-un­der to­tal at The Clearwater Bay Golf and Coun­try Club. In a dra­matic turn of events, Eng­land’s Cal­lum Tar­ren fired a 62 to fin­ish solo sec­ond and win the Or­der of Merit by less than 3,000 RMB ahead of Amer­i­can Char­lie Saxon, while Ja­pan’s Yuwa Ko­sai­hira and Korea’s Todd Baek fin­ished fourth and fifth on the money list to also se­cure Web.com Tour mem­ber­ship.

Amer­i­can Ben­jamin Lein shot 65 to se­cure third place at 10-un­der, three shots ahead of com­pa­triot Char­lie Net­zel (64), Thai­land’s Gunn Charoenkul (68) and Aus­tralia’s Deyen Law­son (68). Korea’s Tae­woo Kim, who played in Sun­day’s fi­nal group for a sec­ond suc­ces­sive

year, carded 70 to take sev­enth at 6-un­der, one ahead of Eng­land’s Wil­liam Har­rold (67).

Voke, 23, con­tin­ued his re­mark­able re­cent run on the PGA TOUR Se­ries-China, which started with a tie for fourth in Suzhou then back-to-back wins in Qin­huang­dao and Ma­cau last month. Af­ter a tie for 16th in last week’s Zhuhai Championship, the rookie pro re­turned to his win­ning ways to col­lect the big­gest check pre­sented on the Tour.

Af­ter turn­ing pro early in the year, the New Zealan­der didn’t make it to China un­til the 10th of 14 events. But in those fi­nal five tour­na­ments, Voke won three times and tied for fourth and 16th. He was com­pletely dom­i­nant, be­gin­ning his PGA TOUR Se­ries-China ca­reer with no sta­tus and fin­ish­ing with 2019 Web.com Tour mem­ber­ship af­ter fin­ish­ing third on the Or­der of Merit.

“It’s been a re­ally awe­some run of golf, and I’m re­ally ex­cited to see what I do in the next cou­ple of years. This win means a hell of a lot, to be hon­est with you,” said Voke.

“The first cou­ple of vic­to­ries I man­aged to come from be­hind, so to come out here with a five-shot lead and know that ev­ery­one is chas­ing me, it’s a dif­fer­ent sort of vic­tory. I’m very proud of how I han­dled my­self and how I went out and played to­day. It’s ab­so­lutely the great­est pro week I’ve had so far.”

Voke had ad­mit­ted he was shak­ing with nerves while in the lead on Satur­day but man­aged to stay calm in front of big crowds and hold on to the lead by card­ing four birdies and one bo­gey. Voke had also made only one bo­gey in each of his pre­vi­ous three rounds.

“I drove it very well all week and didn’t make many op­por­tu­ni­ties to make bo­geys. I only made four in the end so that just sum­marises how it was for me out there. Just very solid and steady golf,” said Voke.

De­spite feel­ing some pres­sure from Tar­ren entering the back-nine, the 23-year-old Voke re­mained calm and man­aged to grind it out on the back-nine.

Tar­ren, 28, recorded his fourth run­ner-up fin­ish of the sea­son to se­cure the num­ber one po­si­tion on the Or­der of Merit, de­spite never hav­ing won on the Tour, which he first played in 2016 when he fin­ished eighth on the money list.

The English­man carded eight birdies in a bo­gey-free round as he looked to put the pres­sure on Voke and test the young New Zealan­der’s nerves.

“I just went out to­day and thought if I could put some pres­sure on Nick early on, and see what nerve he has and ob­vi­ously he has pretty solid nerves,” said Tar­ren, who ad­mit­ted he was sur­prised to win the Or­der of Merit.

“I’m just shocked, and I’m just over the moon. I felt calm all day be­cause at the end of the day I needed some­thing spe­cial to catch Char­lie and luck­ily, I’ve pro­duced that. Even on the last hole, I was calm be­cause it was ei­ther win, sec­ond or bust, so I just had to per­form, and luck­ily I did.”

The top-five on the PGA TOUR Se­ries-China Or­der of Merit will au­to­mat­i­cally earn mem­ber­ship on next year’s Web.com Tour, the top-10 will be el­i­gi­ble for the Fi­nal Stage of the Web.com Tour Qual­i­fy­ing Tour­na­ment from De­cem­ber 6-9 and play­ers 11-25 will be ex­empt to the Sec­ond Qual­i­fy­ing Stage. Hong Kong No.1 Motin Ye­ung, fin­ished sev­enth on the Or­der of Merit with RMB 534450, will bid to be­come the first HK player to earn a card on the Web.com Tour through the Q-School in De­cem­ber.

The PGA TOUR es­tab­lished PGA TOUR Se­ries-China in 2014 as its third in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­men­tal tour, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of PGA TOUR Lati­noamer­ica and the Macken­zie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. Since its in­cep­tion, PGA TOUR Se­ries-China play­ers have re­ceived Of­fi­cial World Golf Rank­ing points for top fin­ishes at of­fi­cial tour­na­ments.

Voke man­aged to stay calm in front of big crowds and hold on to the lead on Sun­day

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