QINHUANGDAO, CHINA（May 17 ， 2019） – ”ŖChinese Taipei”Æs Weihsuan Wang fired 10 birdies, including a stretch of six in a row, and overcame two double bogeys to shoot a 6-under 66 to secure a one-stroke lead heading into Sunday at the Qinhuangdao Championship, the fifth event of this year”Æs PGA TOUR Series-China.
Building on an opening 69, Wang fired back-to-back 66s at Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club to move to 15-under, one shot ahead of American Matthew Negri (67), and Canada”Æs Myles Creighton, who shot a 65, the low score of the day.
Still a teenager, the 19-year-old Wang turned pro in January and is playing in just his second event as a professional. He made his pro debut at last week”Æs Beijing Championship after he Monday-qualified into the event and went on to tie for 19th, which earned him direct entry into this week”Æs field.
Saturday, Wang opened with a birdie before firing a spectacular six consecutive birdies, starting at No. 4, to card a 7-under 29 on the front nine. Things quickly changed as Wang made back-to-back double bogeys on holes 10 and 11 but regrouped with birdies on 12, 15 and 18.
Wang started playing golf when he was seven and is leading a pro event for the first time. He admits he will have to hold back nerves as he looks to hold on for the win.
”°[Sunday] will be my first time competing in a leading group since turning pro. I think I”Æm going to be nervous, but I”Æm going to try my best to prepare myself and not think about it too much,”± said Wang. ”°If I can keep to the same strategy and play like I did the front nine again tomorrow, anything can happen, and I”Æm really looking forward to it.”±
Justin Hicks, a former PGA TOUR player, carded a 67 to share fourth, at 11-under, along with compatriot and second round leader Luke Kwon (71) and Thailand”Æs Suteepat Prateeptienchai (68).
Leading the charge for China is Jin Zhang, who shot a 67 to lie in solo seventh, while Cheng Jin carded a 68 and is tied for 10th with three others.
Did you know that Weihsuan Wang reached a career-high amateur ranking of 504 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking and played in the 2018 Asian Games, where he finished 38th.
- The course this week is a par-72 totaling 7,185 yards.
- A 2019 record 71 players made 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. Saturday, Negri fired a 65 and is tied for second with 18 holes to play.
- In the three previous tournaments that have gone 72 holes, the 54-hole leader has won twice. Taihei Sato (Chongqing Championship) turned a one-shot, third-round lead into a playoff victory, while Richard Jung started the final round of the Beijing Championship tied for first before winning by two shots. Only China”Æs Zheng Ouyang couldn”Æt parlay his 54-hole lead into a win. David Kocher came from behind on the final day to win in a playoff.
- Weihsuan 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”Æs tournament.
- Myles Creighton was bogey-free Saturday and picked up seven birdies for his best score of the week.
- Last week in Beijing, Myles Creighton played in the second-to-last group Sunday and recorded his first top-10 on this Tour, tying for ninth.
- Weihsuan Wang, Myles Creighton and Matthew Negri will play together in the final group, which tees off at 10:10 a.m., off hole 1.
- Justin Hicks, a five-year PGA TOUR veteran, is currently tied for fourth.
- Australia”Æs Corey Hale won the Monday qualifier to gain entrance into the field. He is now tied for 45th after rounds of 69-71-75.
- Last year”Æs runner-up Steve Lewton is tied for eighth after rounds of 69-67-71. Coming into this week, Lewton”Æs first-round stroke average is 69.75. His second-round average is 68.5. His issues have been on the weekend, where he”Æs 72.25 in the third round and 72.33 on Sundays. Saturday, Lewton shot a 71, shaving more than a stroke off his season average.
”°This is my first time playing here, and I really like it. The coastal city of Qinhuangdao is very beautiful, and although I haven”Æt had the chance to walk to the seaside because of the competition, the streets and surrounding environment are very nice.”± ØC Weihsuan Wang
”°I putted really solid. I didn”Æt have too many long putts and all my birdie putts were within range. I didn”Æt miss anything I shouldn”Æt, so all day was solid.”± ØC Matthew Negri
”°After I made a double (bogey) on hole 9, No. 10 was playing pretty long, and I hit it in that front bunker and made a good up and down there to not fall farther into a hole. That really helped me a lot.”± ØC Matthew Negri
”°I played pretty smart today except for hole 9, but I just need to stick to the same plan [Sunday] and try to hit fairways. From there, I think my iron play and putting have been really good, so if I can keep it in the fairway, it will be a good day. Hopefully (I) can get the job done.”± ØC Matthew Negri
”°The first hole was a beast today, 225 yards and a 4-iron to start the day and I hammered it long left, which was not a good spot. But I hit a really good shot to four feet for par, which is much better than starting with a bogey. Everything after that was solid.”± ØC Myles Creighton
”°I was in the second-to last-group last Sunday in Beijing, two shots back, so it was nice to get that experience and learn from that because as a pro, I hadn”Æt been in contention before in a PGA-TOUR sanctioned event. I”Æll take that into [Sunday] and hopefully that will help me.”± ØC Myles Creighton
”°I played good all the way around, and I drove it kind of poorly the last two days. I hit my driver really good today and got some stuff figured out on the range yesterday, which really helped.”± ØC Myles Creighton
Tournament Fast Fact
This is the second Qinhuangdao Championship. In 2018, New Zealand”Æs Nick Voke won the event at 12-under, after defeating England”Æs Steve Lewton in a playoff.
Third-Round Weather Report
Mostly cloudy. High of 70. Wind SSE at 9 mph.