DONGGUAN, China(July 27th , 2019)—American Joey Lane earned his first professional victory after being declared the 36-hole champion at the Dongguan Open. Officials had originally reduced the event to 54 holes, but after another weather delay Sunday they determined the tournament would be a 36-hole event. Roughly half the field was forced to complete its second rounds Sunday, but Lane didn’t have to play a single hole after he set clubhouse lead at 10-under a day earlier, which was more than enough to secure the victory.
Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira had the best chance to catch Lane and was just three shots back, at 7-under, with six holes to play. He failed to close the gap after finishing with six straight pars to secure solo second. Fellow Japanese player Masamichi Uehira carded a 67 to share third, with Canada’s Richard Jung (68), one shot ahead of American Charlie Netzel (65) and France’s Cyril Bouniol (67).
It was a well-deserved victory for Lane, who carded an opening, 8-under 62 at Mission Hills Golf Club’s Norman Course to open a four-shot lead after the first completed round. He then carded a second-round 68 to move to 10-under but admits the highlight was carding a 62 on a course known for being one of the most difficult in Asia.
“It’s a hard golf course, and there were some tough pins so from tee to green it was awesome, probably one of the best rounds I’ve ever played,” said Lane. “Inside of 10 feet, I made almost everything so it was just a great round and one that only happens every once in a while.”
Lane is playing his first season in China after being talked into competing by good friend and fellow Tour player David Kocher, who remains third on the Order of Merit after his tie-for-seventh finish this week. With the victory, Lane jumped 22 spots into eighth place, within striking distance of joining Kocher inside the top five.
The victory will be a big boost for Lane but doesn’t come as a huge surprise seeing that Lane had been in good form recently. Although quiet in the first half of the season, last month, Lane backed a tie for 18th in Suzhou with a tie for seventh in Huangshan before coming away with his breakthrough win this week.
“It’s an awesome feeling. This is actually my first professional win on any Tour, and this is the best Tour I’ve played on so it’s an awesome week,” said Lane, who is looking to play on the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour. “Top-10 has always been one of the main goals for this year, so to stay in the top 10 would be great. Obviously I have my eyes on a top-five (Order of Merit finish) also, and with four more events, hopefully I can play well and keep moving up.”