SANYA, China（April 5 , 2019）—American Michael Perras fired a tournament low, 9-under 63 to move to 12-under early in the day, and fellow countrymen Trevor Sluman (65) and Matt Gilchrest (68) and Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira (64) joined him after the second round of the Sanya Championship. They lead a pair of Americans, Christopher Hickman (65) and Max McGreevy (67) by a shot heading to the weekend.
Gilchrest, who started the day with a one-stroke lead, was 6-under for the day and leading the pack by two going into the final two holes but had a disappointing finish, closing with back-to-back bogeys.
Perras, the grandson of former PGA TOUR player Fred Marti, graduated from the University of Houston in 2018 and is now playing on a PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour for the first time after earning his full card at the second Global Qualifying Tournament.
Despite missing the cut at last week’s Chongqing Championship, the 23-year-old looked impressive Friday firing nine birdies in a bogey-free round.
“I feel really comfortable on this grass and in the windy conditions,” said Perras. “I’ve been hitting the ball really well and keeping it on the fairay and up on the green helps out and makes it easier on yourself.”
Kosaihira, who finished fourth on last year’s Order of Merit, was also bogey-free and shot eight birdies in a solid round as he looks to win on this Tour, just one week after his good friend and compatriot Taihei Sato became the first Japanese player to win in the Tour’s history.
“I played really well today. I’m going to keep fighting and hopefully I can get my first win on this Tour this weekend.”
Daejin Jeong and Michael Skelton are tied for seventh but only two shots back on the crowded leaderboard.
PGA TOUR Series-China 2018: First three of 14 events
March 25-31: Chongqing Championship, Poly Golf Club, Chongqing
April 1-7: Sanya Championship, Yalong Bay Golf Club, Sanya
April 8-14: Haikou Championship, Sunac Haikou 3 KM Golf Club, Haikou
Did you know that Michael Perras won three college tournaments while he was at the University of Houston? He won one tournament each in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
- The course this week is a par-72 course totaling 7,200 yards.
- The cut came at 3-under, with 61 players making it to the weekend.
- A week after winning his first PGA TOUR Series-China tournament, Taihei Sato is again in position to make a run at victory heading to the weekend. He has fashioned scores of 70-66 over his first 36 holes. He’s at 8-under and tied for 10th.
- All three of Matt Gilchrest’s bogeys have come on the front nine this week. He bogeyed the par-4 seventh hole in the opening round and made bogeys at No. 8 and No. 9 Friday. His two bogeys Friday came on his last two holes of the day.
- American Michael Perras had the low round of the day and of the tournament with his 9-under 63 Friday. Perras had nine birdies and no bogeys. His birdies came on Nos. 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 13, 15, 16 and 18.
- Monday qualifier medalist Peter Creighton made the most of his opportunity, easily making the cut. He is tied for 19th with 36 holes to play. Creighton rebounded from his opening 73 to shoot a 65 Friday.
- Bogey-free rounds Friday came from Eric Beringer, Jin Cheng, Peter Creighton, Daejin Jeong, Yuwa Kosaihira, Michael Perras, John Young Kim, Velten Meyer, Taihei Sato, Zihan She, Trevor Sluman and Eugene Wong.
- Of players who made the cut, American Kevin Techakanokboon and Peter Creighton had the best improvement from one round to the next. After opening with 73s, they both fired 65s in the second round. Their eight-shot improvement was one better than John Young Kim (72-65). Amateur Enqi Liang opened with a 75 followed by a 67, but he missed the cut by one shot. Seven other amateurs also missed the cut.
- Conversely, China’s Xinyang Li dropped nine shots from the first round to the second round. He began the tournament with a 68 but shot a 77 in the second round to miss the cut.
- Trevor Sluman is bogey-free through 36 holes. His current streak is at 42 consecutive holes with either a birdie or par. His last bogey came on No. 12 during the final round of the season-opening Chongqing Championship, where he tied for fifth.
- Kevin Lee battled back from a terrible start to his second round to make the cut on the number. Lee opened with a double bogey-7 on No. 1 and didn’t make a birdie on his front nine, adding three bogeys to his ledger. He shot a front-nine 41 (5-over) and was 2-under for the tournament. His back nine was a completely different story. Lee was 5-under, with birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 13, 14 and 18.
- China’s Jin Cheng is following a familiar route this week. In the season-opening Chongqing Championship, Jin shot a 77 followed by a 67. He improved by six strokes Friday, shooting a 66 after opening with a 72. He’s tied for 19th.
- Ming Pang had a disappointing finish to his round Friday. On his back nine, he made birdies on four of the first five holes and was cruising at 4-under for the day and 2-under for the tournament—hovering near the cutline. It all fell apart for China’s Pang, who bogeyed the 15th, 16th and 17th holes and then made a double bogey at No. 18 to miss the cut.
“It’s 80 degrees and sunny here. I’m from Houston, Texas, so it’s about like this there in the summer time, so I’m enjoying the course. It’s a fun course, but it gets windy. It’s in great shape, and I really had a good time out there today..” – Michael Perras
“I’m just focusing on PGA TOUR Series-China and putting all my effort onto this Tour.” – Michael Perras
“This is my first year in China. It’s basically my first time out of the country, so I have to deal with jet lag but it has been pretty good.” – Michael Perras
“I was bogey-free today, so I’m very happy. It was a really good day shooting 8-under, and I hope to play well again [Saturday].” –Yuwa Kosaihira
“It was a really good experience for me. Playing a PGA TOUR event was something very cool, and I hope to experience it again. Unfortunately I didn’t play well, but I know I can hang with them.” –Yuwa Kosaihira on playing the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open after making it through the Monday qualifier
“I haven’t made a bogey this whole week, and I’ve been playing pretty smart. My driver feels really good, and I’ve been taking advantage of the par-5s. I think that is a good key to having some good clean rounds and that leaves some birdies there. I’ve been keeping everything under control, which is great.” –Trevor Sluman
“I’m going to see what happens. I think I might get some Web.com Tour starts this summer, but I’m definitely going to commit to play all 14 events on this Tour. I’m looking forward to this weekend and for the rest of the year.” –Trevor Sluman
“I’m pretty pleased. I didn’t have too many expectations going into the round, and I knew I needed something special to even begin so I’m really happy that I was able to get up there and make some birdies eearly in the round.” –Kevin Techakanokboon
“I just made less dumb mistakes. I feel like I did the same things out on the course and stuck to the same game plan. I just had a couple less missed shots and only one three-putt. [Thursday] I struggled with the putter.” –Kevin Techakanokboon