QINHUANGDAO, CHINA（May 19 ， 2019）- ”ŖLuke Kwon overcame a double bogey on hole 16 then closed with back-to-back birdies, which was enough to hold off Canada”Æs Myles Creighton (69) and secure a one-stroke victory at the Qinhuangdao Championship.
American Matthew Negri, who was playing in the final group with Creighton and Chinese Taipei”Æs Weihsuan Wang, carded a 70 to share third, along with Thailand”Æs Suteepat Prateeptienchai (67). Wang was leading at the start of the day but dropped into solo fifth after a final round 72.
Playing in the penultimate group, the 26-year-old Kwon, who moved to fourth on the Order of Merit, started the day four shots off the lead but quickly found himself among the leaders after going 8-under through his 13 holes at Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club. From there it was neck and neck until the end.
After a bogey on hole 14, Kwon still held a one-shot lead before the double bogey on 16 dropped him one shot behind Creighton. With two holes left to play, Kwon drained a 30-footer for birdie on the 17th before sinking another birdie putt from seven feet on the final hole. Meanwhile, Creighton was finishing with five straight pars.
”°I really needed that birdie on 17. It was huge. I was feeling a bit down and was looking at a long putt from around 30 feet, and it went in,”± said Kwon. ”°My putting had been good all week, and thankfully it saved me again today, and I made some clutch putts at the end.”±
It makes sense that Kwon is playing in China, seeing that he has no trouble fitting in in any part of the world. Kwon was born in Seoul, South Korea, and currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand, where he also lived from the age of 2-8. He then moved to Dallas, Texas before deciding to play golf at the University of Oklahoma, where he played alongside current Tour player Max McGreevy and Charlie Saxon, the Tour”Æs all-time leader in money earned.
Kwon made his PGA TOUR Series-China debut late in 2018, at the Macau Championship, and is now a Tour winner in just his eighth event, only three wins behind Saxon”Æs four career titles.
”°I”Æm really excited and happy to be off the golf course. I was feeling the nerves coming down the stretch, but I couldn”Æt be happier with the finish and this win really means a lot to me,”± said Kwon, who was modest when being compared to Saxon. ”°That”Æs a tall task, but I wouldn”Æt mind copying him. He”Æs a good friend, and we played together a lot in college and he”Æs done really well out here so hopefully I can catch him one day.”±
Creighton, who finished tied for ninth last week in Beijing, was disappointed to not get the win, especially after seeing his 20-foot putt on 17 lip out. Despite that, he was pleased with his final-round improvement from last week.
”°On 17 I hit one of the best putts I hit all week, and it never looked like it was going to miss, but it ended up catching the high side and lipped out. There”Æs not much more I can do than that,”± said Creighton. ”°It was nice to show myself today that I could go out and shoot a good round. Last week I was two back instead of one back, and I ended up shooting 2-over in the last round, so I wanted to have a better showing than last week. I”Æm happy with how I played today.”±
Did you know that Luke Kwon is an avid videographer and his Youtube channel has over 11,000 subscribers.
Order of Merit Standings
Through Qinhuangdao Championship
|1.||David Kocher (U.S.)||£¤431,080|
|2.||Trevor Sluman (U.S.)||£¤388,325|
|3.||Taihei Sato (Japan)||£¤348,891|
|4.||Luke Kwon (U.S.)||£¤345,093|
|5.||Max McGreevy (U.S.)||£¤339,523|
|6.||Richard Jung (Canada)||£¤293,991|
|7.||Yuwa Kosaihira (Japan)||£¤259,337|
|8.||Ryann Ree (U.S.)||£¤241,771|
|9.||Myles Creighton (Canada)||£¤228,400|
|10.||Yanwei Liu (China)||£¤190,856|
- The course this week is a par-72 totaling 7,185 yards.
- At last year”Æs Qinhuangdao Championship, Nick Voke won with a score of 12-under-par and is now playing on the Web.com Tour. This year, Luke Kwon finished at 18-under.
- After redshirting his first year, Luke Kwon played four years at the University of Oklahoma and graduated in 2016, one year before the Sooners won the NCAA Championship.
- After missing the cut at the Sanya Championship, Myles Creighton has made three consecutive cuts”Ŗimproving with each tournament. At the Haikou Championship he tied for 46th. Last week at the Beijing Championship he tied for ninth before this week”Æs second-place outing.
- Weihsuan Wang is not a member of the Tour but easily qualifies for next week”Æs Nantong Championship with his fifth-place finish.
- In only his second career PGA TOUR Series-China start, Thailand”Æs Suteepat Prateeptienchai earned a top-10, tying for third. Prateeptienchai shot four under-par rounds this week to go with the three he had last week at the Beijing Championship. His only over-par round was a third-round 73 in Beijing.
- Justin Hicks, a five-year PGA TOUR veteran, tied for 10th, earning him his second top-10 of the year.
- China”Æs Hulin Zhang has a strong finish. He closed with a final round bogey-free 65 to finish in a tie for sixth, the best showing by a Chinese player this week. In his career, that spans 46 total tournaments, Zhang has 14 top-10s, including two wins.
”°I was just trying to get through he front nine and get through the first four holes at 1-under because those first four holes have given me a hard time. I actually ended up starting better than that.”± ØCLuke Kwon
”°I knew I was in a pretty good spot and kept on making putts and was feeling really good with the putter.”± ØC Luke Kwon
”°I”Æm happy with the week. I gave it my best shot and came close, so I can”Æt be too disappointed. Hopefully it”Æs a sign of more good things to come.”± ØC Myles Creighton
”°I didn”Æt really know what Luke was doing, and I saw him make a little bit of a mess on the 16th hole. I didn”Æt know what he made, but I made par on 16 and my playing partners made bogey so I figured at that moment I had the lead.”± ØC Myles Creighton
”°It was a great tournament but just a little bit disappointed with today. I had a rough start with three bogeys but was able to bounce back after that. I made five birdies on the front and was in contention on the back nine, so I was pretty proud of myself for sticking in there.”± ØC Matthew Negri
”°I made a good birdie on 15, and then 16 I misjudged the speed and three-putted, so that was kind of the turning point. It was difficult to come back after that.”± ØC Matthew Negri
”°I feel like my game is in a good spot, and I”Æm definitely excited for the next tournament and the rest of the year.”± ØC Matthew Negri
Tournament Fast Fact
This is the second consecutive year a player from a Big 12 school has won the Qinhuangdao Championship. A year ago, New Zealand”Æs Nick Voke, who played college golf at Iowa State, won the tournament in a playoff, with Oklahoma”Æs Luke Kwon winning in 2019.
Fourth-Round Weather Report
Mostly cloudy. High of 74. Wind WSW at 14 mph.