SUZHOU, China(June 17 , 2019) – In front of a packed grandstand on Jinji Lake International Golf Club”?s closing hole, France”?s Cyril Bouniol drained a pressure-packed 20-foot par putt to secure a one-shot victory at the Suzhou Open, and become the first player from Europe to win on the PGA TOUR Series-China.
It was a dramatic finish as American Trevor Sluman, who was playing two groups in front of Bouniol, birdied holes 16 and 17 to card a 65 and post at 17-under, enough to put the pressure on the Frenchman as he was coming down the stretch. At first it didn”?t seem like it would be enough as Bouniol cruised to 5-under through 13 holes, but a bogey on the 14th followed by a three-putt on 17 reduced his lead to just one heading into what he called the ”°toughest hole”± on the course. Bouniol knew he needed to get up and down for par from the fringe to avoid a playoff, but a mis-hit on his chip left him with a difficult putt from 20 feet. He calmly made the putt to the delight of the cheering fans.
”°That three-putt on 17 was not good especially since I knew that hole 18 is by far the toughest hole on the golf course,”± said Bouniol. ”°I was aware that I needed to get up and down to win, but my chip on 18 was horrible. I just tried to laugh it off and knew that I still had a chance to make a putt. That definitely wasn”?t the easy way to win, but I”?m very glad that putt dropped.”
Bouniol played a full season on the European Tour in 2015 and is playing in his first year in China after he earned his Tour card through Q-School. Now halfway through the season, Bouniol admits that this was the boost he needed as the 31-year-old hopes to play on the 2020 Web.com Tour in the U.S., where he currently resides with his wife, Sharlotte.
”°I”?ve been wanting it bad. I”?ve been wanting to win real bad over the past couple years, and it”?s tough. I”?ve put a lot of hard work in, and whenever you have a chance, you have to seize it,”± added Bouniol. ”°I”?m just glad I can get that win off my chest, and it”?s perfect timing, halfway through the season. I”?m hoping for a strong finish to the season, and I want to win the Order of Merit.”±
Ireland”?s Niall Turner (69) chipped in for birdie on the final hole to finish third, at 15-under, with Japan”?s Kenta Endo (69), one shot ahead of England”?s Stephen Lewton (67) and Americans Michael Perras (65) and Matt Gilchrest (72).
The top-five players on this season”?s Order of Merit will earn membership on the 2020 Web.com Tour, the ”°Pathway to the PGA TOUR,”± while finishers 6-10 will earn direct entry into the Web.com Tour Final Qualifying Tournament.
Did you know that Cyril Bouniol proposed to his wife under the Eiffel tower, and then took her to a Moulin Rouge show that same night?
Order of Merit Standings
Trevor Sluman (U.S.)
Max McGreevy (U.S.)
David Kocher (U.S.)
Kevin Techakanokboon (U.S.)
Luke Kwon (U.S.)
Stephen Lewton (England)
Cyril Bouniol (France)
Taihei Sato (Japan)
Richard Jung (Canada)
Michael Perras (U.S.)
The course this week is a par-72 totaling 7,326 yards.
Cyril Bouniol turned pro in 2012 after graduating from Abilene Christian University in 2011.
Bouniol studied physics and astrophysics in college in France for a couple years before moving to America.
Cyril Bouniol was the only player in the field to shoot sub-70 rounds on all four days.
Trevor Sluman improved his score each day. After an opening-round 73, Sluman recovered nicely to card rounds of 67-66-65 to finish solo second.
Trevor Sluman finished ninth on the 2018 Order of Merit and played in the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
The tournament low score was a 63, shot by Japan”?s Kenta Endo in the opening round and South Korea”?s Daewon Kim in the third round.
American Max McGreevy continued his string of good results with a tie for eighth in Suzhou. The performance is the American”?s fifth top 10, and he has yet to finish outside the top 20.
China”?s Enqi Liang was the highest-ranked amateur in the field. He tied for 18th, at 10-under, after rounds of 68-72-68-70.
”°It feels incredible because I was feeling good for quite some time, but I couldn”?t put four rounds together so I”?m glad I got it done today.”± ?C Cyril Bouniol
”°It”?s never easy to win, and it doesn”?t matter what lead you have, and it doesn”?t matter what Tour you are playing in, winning is never easy. All of the players are playing great and Trevor (Sluman) was playing great and putting lots of pressure on me, so well played to him.”± ?C Cyril Bouniol
”°I switched putters actually on Thursday, so I was really struggling with the speed on these greens and that was the main focus because I was driving the ball really well and hitting my irons pretty well. So, I just thought, All right, just focus on your putting today and get the good speed and hit your lines, and I was able to do that really well and made some good putts today.”± ?C Trevor Sluman
”°I think I played better on the back nine, pretty much the whole week, and I was thinking that if I could play that front nine 2- or 3-under par, then we could really tear up that back nine and post a number. I did that and made some good putts on 16 and 17 and was happy with the two-putt on 18, too.”± ?C Trevor Sluman
I”?m really happy with the tournament, especially after my 1-over first round. That was pretty good golf in those last three rounds, shooting 18-under so I”?m really pleased with that. I knew going into the week”?I played here last year”?that I really liked the golf course.”± ?C Trevor Sluman
”°I”?m delighted with the finish, but I dropped a few shots out there today, so I was a little bit disappointed with the round. I was happy with the finish, to make a nice birdie on 16 and to chip in on the last was great. That last hole is so tough.”± ?C Niall Turner
”°Cyril (Bouniol) was playing so well that it was going to be very hard to catch him. I started nicely, but I bogeyed hole 9, which kind of killed my momentum a little bit. It was great to be in the second-to-last-group. A lot of people were watching, so it was enjoyable.”± ?C Niall Turner
Tournament Fast Fact
This is the second Suzhou Open. In 2018, Canada”?s Richard Jung won the title at 21-under and six of the top eight finishers from last year’s Suzhou Open are currently playing on the Web.com Tour.
Final-Round Weather Report
Mostly cloudy. High of 93. Wind SSE at 10 mph.