American Kwon fires back nine 30 to steal lead in Qinhuangdao

QINHUANGDAO, CHINA(May 17 ,2019)—University of Oklahoma graduate Luke Kwon fired six birdies through seven holes on the back nine to card a second consecutive 5-under 67 for a 10-under total and a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the RMB 1.6 million Qinhuangdao Championship.

American Matthew Negri, who had set the clubhouse lead earlier in the day, fired a tournament-low 64 at Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club to share second at 9-under, with Chinese Taipei’s Weihsuan Wang (66).

Kwon had a slow start to the day after bogeys on holes 3 and 4, but a birdie on seven gave him a boost heading into the back nine. After a par on 10, Kwon caught fire, going 6-under in the next seven holes, including a stretch of four straight birdies starting with a 40-foot putt on the 14th.

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“The birdie on seven helped a lot. I was 2-over, so that was important to give me some confidence,” said Kwon. “Then on hole 14 I hit one past the flag and I thought that was a horrible shot, but I ended up making this 90-degree putt in from close to 40 feet away. Really didn’t expect that.”

Despite the impressive feat, Kwon was slightly disappointed to not make it five birdies in a row, which would have won him a bet against former Sooners teammate and current Tour player Max McGreevy, who he has been rooming with since the start of the season.

“Me and Max have a bet going that if one of us makes five birdies in a row, then the other has to buy lunch and dinner the next day, so that really crossed my mind,” Kwon said.

Kwon had his best finish of the season when he tied for seventh at the Chongqing Championship. He is currently 38th on the Order of Merit, 34 spots behind McGreevy, but a win this week could spark more friendly competition as the two both look to play on the Web.com Tour in 2020.

“I’m pumped for the weekend, just going to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Kwon. “My mindset for the weekend won’t change, just keep plodding my way along and take my looks where I get them and hope the putts keep dropping.”

China’s Yinong Yang was co-leading after the first round, but a second round 70 dropped him into a tie for fourth, at 8-under, with Philippine’s Lloyd Jefferson Go (67), and England’s Stephen Lewton (67), who finished runner-up at this event in 2018.

全昊俊

Did you know that Luke Kwon is an avid videographer, and his YouTube channel (@LukeKwongolf) has over 11,000 subscribers.

Key Information

  • The course this week is a par-72 totaling 7,185 yards.
  • The cut was at even-par, with a 2019 record 71 players making it to the weekend.
  • Last week in Beijing, Matthew Negri was tied for second heading into the weekend before rounds of 72-76 dropped him into a tie for 36th. This week, Negri is again tied for second heading into the weekend.
  • Weihsuan Wang turned pro earlier this year, and this is just his second tournament as a professional. Wang is not a member of the Tour and is hoping to re-shuffle into exempt status based on his performance. The re-shuffle takes place after next week’s tournament.
  • Weihsuan Wang Monday-qualified into last week’s Beijing Championship, and he tied for 19th, earning him a spot into the field this week.
  • After an opening-round 67, Ryann Ree, who started the day tied for third, shot a second-round 74 to drop 33 positions, into a tie for 36th.
  • Last week in Beijing, Ryann Ree earned his best Tour result with his runner-up finish. Before Friday’s round, his last five scores had all been under-par. Seven of his first eight rounds to start the season—at the Chongqing Championship and Sanya Championship—were also under-par.
  • American Max McGreevy has finished in the top five in three of his last four Tour events. Through 36 holes in Qinhuangdao, he currently lies tied for 21st.
  • Last year’s runner-up Steve Lewton is tied for fourth after rounds of 69-67. Coming into this week, Lewton’s first-round stroke average is 69.75. His second-round average is 68.5. His issues have been on the weekend, where he’s 72.25 in the third round and 72.33 on Sundays.
  • Australia’s Corey Hale won the Monday qualifier to gain entrance into the field. He made the cut and is tied for 31st after rounds of 69-71.
  • Last week in Beijing, Myles Creighton recorded his first top-10 on this Tour, tying for ninth.

Quotable

“I was hitting it pretty well off the tees and keeping it on the fairway. Also, my irons were really good today. I gave myself a lot of birdie looks and putted it really well also.” – Matthew Negri
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“It was a little calmer this morning [compared to yesterday afternoon] and I was able to get some birdies early to get me going, and then then the putter was pretty good on the back nine.” – Matthew Negri on the weather

“My goal this weekend is to just forget what happened last week and worry about this week and stick to the same plan.” – Matthew Negri

“Today my irons were the best part of my game, especially on the back nine. It gave me a lot of opportunities to make birdies.” Weihsuan Wang

“Today, I felt pretty cold at the first tee, and I didn’t hit my first shot well. But my second shot was great, and I cut it into close to 10 feet for a birdie, which gave me a lot of confidence. After that, I gradually got the momentum going.”Weihsuan Wang

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“I just turned professional this year, and the Qinhuangdao Championship is just my second professional competition. I will focus on the PGA TOUR Series-China, but I still need to play Monday qualifiers here so I really hope that I can get a good result here and hopefully make the re-shuffle into this Tour.” Weihsuan Wang

“It was definitely way more scorable today. For us, it was calm this morning and the tees were up, so I felt like it was easier. I just made a couple silly mistakes. I made bogey from 100 yards to a bold pin on hole 16 and just didn’t make as much. Yesterday I made everything I looked at.” – Myles Creighton

“You certainly can’t win it on Friday, so (I’m) just hanging in there and I’ve had a 6-under here already. I like the course, it suits my eye well so I feel good heading into the weekend.” – Myles Creighton

“I got a little taste of being up on the leaderboard last weekend with some of the cameras and some of the big crowds and stuff, which was fun. Hopefully I can learn from that and try to do a little bit better this time around.” – Myles Creighton

“On 18, I made an eagle but it was nothing too exciting. I hit it down the left side in a perfect spot, which is kind of where you want to be so you can see the green. I hit a 6-iron to about six feet and was able to make it, so that was the only real excitement of the day.” – Myles Creighton

Tournament Fast Fact

This is the second Qinhuangdao Championship. In 2018, New Zealand’s Nick Voke won the event at 12-under, after defeating England’s Steve Lewton in a playoff.

Second-Round Weather Report

Mostly cloudy. High of 69. Wind SSE at 6 mph.