PGA TOUR China – B.C.’s Shin opens big lead over Dou in Macau

A golf ball's dimpled surfaces have less wind resistance.

MACAU, China – SPORTS —After opening rounds of 63-62, British Columbia’s Justin Shin kept the momentum going as he carded a 5-under 66 at the Macau Championship. He leads China’s Zecheng “Marty” Dou by a healthy six shots going into the final 18 holes of the PGA TOUR Series-China season. Shin, at 22-under, is looking to close Dou and win on this circuit for a second time.

Canada’s Richard Jung shot a 66 to move into solo third, one shot ahead of France’s Cyril Bouniol, who is currently fifth on the Order of Merit. Max McGreevy is still virtually assured of locking up Player of the Year honors despite dropping into a tie for 19th after carding a Saturday 70.

Shin, who was born in Seoul, is chasing his first victory on the Tour since his triumph at the 2015 United Investment Real Estate Open. That year, Shin finished sixth on the Order of Merit and missed earning his Korn Ferry Tour card. He on to play a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017 via the Qualifying Tournament.

On Saturday, Shin was 5-under through 13 holes before two late bogeys on holes 15 and 18 slowed him. However, an eagle on 17 and five birdies for the day gave him lots of positives heading into Sunday.

“I missed a two-footer on the last hole, and on hole 14 I lost a bit of concentration,” said Shin of his bogeys. “The greens are sometimes tricky, but I managed to recover and I’m still pretty happy with the round. Hopefully, if I can keep doing what I’m doing, we should be OK.”

Shin is a surprise leader this week after he came into the event ranked 67th on the Order of Merit and in jeopardy of losing his card for 2020. However, after a putter change last month and two good events on the Korean Tour, Shin is playing well and projected to jump to 11th on the Order of Merit if he can secure the win.

Shin is looking forward to playing with Dou in the final group Sunday, which is expected to produce a lot of birdies.

“The last time I played with Marty was in 2016, and he’s played on the PGA TOUR and is playing the Korn Ferry Tour now, so it’s going to be fun,” said Shin. “He’s a great player, and he can go low. He shot 62 today, which is pretty good. I think there will be a lot of birdies. I need to keep making birdies; can’t make pars.”

Dou is no stranger to winning and moved into solo second after firing a 62 at Caesars Golf Macau. The 22-year-old won four-times on the Tour in 2016 en route to winning the Order of Merit and Player of the Year honors. Dou, who also has two victories on the Korn Ferry Tour, is in the field this week to get ready for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai at the end of the month. He will return to the Korn Ferry Tour for the 2020 season.

Dou, who played a full year on the PGA TOUR (2017-18 season), started the day off with six straight pars before lighting up the course with seven birdies and an eagle in his next 10 holes.

“Today, from the beginning I found that everything came into place. I missed a short putt on the first hole, but the way I was striking it, I could feel that a low score was coming,” said Dou. “Then I got to hole 6 and then shot 8-under through eight holes and got on that streak. I made a lot of 20-foot putts and hit mostly every fairway. I didn’t really have to save par the whole day, which made things easier for me.”

Speaking on Shin, Dou was also full of praise.

“Justin is playing really solid. Even if he was playing on the PGA TOUR, he would be at the top [of the leaderboard] right now,” said Dou. “So, I won’t think about trying to catch him too much, I’ll just try to play like I did today and if I get a chance to get him, that’s good.”

Did you know that Zecheng Dou won the season-opening event on the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour and went on to finish 34th on the points list? He will play on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 as he looks to return to the PGA TOUR and join compatriot Xinjun Zhang.

Key Information

  • On the front-nine, over three days, Justin Shin is bogey-free and a combined 16-under.
  • In 2015, Justin Shin finished sixth on the PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit. He has also played one partial (2014) and one full season (2017) on the Korn Ferry Tour, where his best finish was a tie for 21st at the Stonebrae Classic in Hayward, Calif., in 2014.
  • Zecheng Dou won the Tour’s Order of Merit in 2016. One year later in 2017, Dou finished inside the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour and earned his PGA TOUR card.
  • Zecheng Dou played on the PGA TOUR during the 2017-18 season, along with Xinjun Zhang, making them the first from Mainland China to hold PGA TOUR membership. They made it to the TOUR via their money-list finish on the Korn Ferry Tour.
  • Zecheng Dou played a full season on the PGA TOUR in 2017-18 but struggled to get any momentum. In 23 events, Dou made just four cuts, with his best finish a tie for 51st at the Valero Texas Open.
  • If Justin Shin wins Sunday, he will become the 15th player in PGA TOUR Series-China history with multiple wins in his career. Shin won the 2015 United Investment Real Estate Open for his first title. The other players with multiple wins (with total wins in parentheses): Todd Baek (2), Gunn Charoenkul (2), Zecheng Dou (4), Josh Geary (3), Taewoo Kim (2), Haotong Li (3), Bryden Macpherson (2), David McKenzie (2), Charlie Saxon (2), Kevin Techakanokboon (2), Nick Voke (3), Motin Yeung (2), Huilin Zhang (2) and Xinjun Zhang (2).
  • Joey Lane has the largest margin of victory this season. He won the weather-shortened Dongguan Open by three shots.
  • Of the 10 previous tournaments this season that went 72 holes, the 54-hole leader held on to win six times. The last player to do so was Quincy Quek. He turned his six-stroke, third-round advantage into a win at the Haikou Classic. The last player to not capitalize on his 54-hole lead was Yuwa Kosaihira, at the Zhuzhou Classic. Kosaihira entered the final round a stroke ahead but lost to Motin Yeung.
  • France’s Cyril Bouniol is in fourth place with 18 holes to play, while Luke Kwon is tied for 11th. If the same scenario remains, Bouniol will overtake Kwon on the Order of Merit and move into fourth.
  • Ngai Si of Macau was the sole amateur to make the cut this week. He is tied for 52nd. Canada’s Freddy Sun, who is 15 years old, missed the cut by one stroke.
  • Three of the four previous PGA TOUR Series-China Players of the Year are in the field this week. Leading the way is Zecheng Dou (2016). He is in solo second. Bryden Macpherson, the 2015 Player of the Year, is tied for 19th, while Callum Tarren (2018) is tied for 39th.

Quotable

“It wasn’t a crazy round, and I just stayed patient out there. I took each shot one at a time, and I only made three birdies on the front and two birdies on the back and an eagle.” –Justin Shin

“I’m feeling good and have a lot of confidence going into the last round. Hopefully, if I can keep doing what I’m doing, I can get the W.” –Justin Shin

“It’s good to come back and play something you’ve come through. It feels like I’m playing at home, and I needed the condition change. I haven’t played any tournaments in a long time back here and it feels good. It will help me for next year when I play on the Korn Ferry Tour and try to stay relaxed.” – Zecheng Dou on his return to PGA TOUR Series-China

“There is a bit of pressure, we all experience it. Finishing in the top five is something that means a lot to each one of us, to move up and achieve a season-long goal.” – Cyril Bouniol

“Game is feeling great. I’m managing my game pretty well out there. I think the course suits my eye pretty well, and I’ve shot three good rounds in a row. That means I’m doing a lot of good things. I just need to keep it up and get the job done tomorrow.” – Cyril Bouniol

Order of Merit Standings

Pos.

Player (Country)

Earnings (RMB)

Projected OOM Position

1

Max McGreevy (U.S.)

965,124

1

2

Trevor Sluman (U.S.)

 787,865

2

3

David Kocher (U.S.)

755.640

3

4

Luke Kwon (South Korea)

594.597

5

5

Cyril Bouniol (France)

574,168

6

6

Zhengkai Bai (China)

535,086

8

7

Yuwa Kosaihira (Japan)

529,298

9

8

Kevin Techakanokboon (U.S.)

480,931

4

9

Joey Lane (U.S.)

465,328

10

10

Richard Jung (Canada)

465,244

7

Tournament Fast Fact

This is the second PGA TOUR Series-China tournament held in Macau and only the fourth official PGA TOUR Series-China event staged outside Mainland China. The 2016 and 2018 Clearwater Bay Opens in Hong Kong are the others.

Third-Round Weather Report

Overcast, warm and humid. High of 88. Wind S at 8 mph.