PGA Tour China

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PGA Tour China is a China-based men's professional golf tour as part of the PGA Tour's global expansion. The tour started in 2014. The start of the 2017 season has been delayed and there is a "good chance" the tour will not take place in 2017.[1]

The United States-based PGA Tour started PGA Tour China in 2014, joining PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica as international developmental tours.[2] Similar to the Canadian and Latinoamerica tours, PGA Tour China offers a path to the Web.com Tour for top finishers. It also offers Official World Golf Ranking points to the top-six finishers at each tournament. The top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at season's end receive promotion to the Web.com Tour. The money leader is fully exempt, while the other four players receive conditional status while players Nos. 6-10 on the Order of Merit advance to the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. The top-50 players on the Order of Merit at the end of the season retain PGA Tour China privileges for the following year.

On 29 January 2014, PGA Tour China announced qualifying procedures and a 12-event season to begin in April. Two 72-hole qualifying tournaments were played in March. Each event awarded 20 full-time Tour cards, and conditional cards to the next 20 players plus those tied. For its inaugural season, PGA Tour China gave exemptions to the top 70 according to the China Golf Association rankings. After the 40 qualifiers and 70 from the rankings, the balance of the fields were filled through sponsor exemptions, Monday qualifiers and eligible players from the Web.com Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, and PGA Tour Canada.[3]

Zhang Lianwei, China's most successful professional golfer, hit the first tee shot in PGA Tour China history.[4] South Korean teenager Wang Jeung-hun dominated the season's first event, the Mission Hills Haikou Open, winning by what is still a tournament record 10 shots.

Teenager Li Haotong won the final two events of the 2014 season, the Hainan Open and the Tour Championship – and three tournaments overall – to capture Player of the Year honors and full access to the Web.com Tour. Another notable winner was China's Jin Cheng, a 16-year-old amateur who came from behind on the final day of the Nine Dragons Open to pass Lucas Lee. The victory by Jin is still the only time an amateur has broken through and won. Brett Drewitt finished third on the Order of Merit and also advanced to the Web.com Tour. After two seasons on that circuit, Drewitt earned his PGA Tour card for the 2016-17 season. Drewitt and Lee are the only two alums to hold PGA Tour membership.

In 2015, New Zealand's Josh Geary won three tournaments, matching the win total of Li. But it was Australia's Bryden Macpherson who returned to China for the second half of the season after failing to qualify for the Web.com Tour Playoffs. Macpherson won twice and finished atop the Order of Merit for a return trip to the Web.com Tour in 2016. Midway during the 2015 season, the series was renamed Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA Tour China Series after Ping An Bank became the tour's umbrella sponsor.

Another teenager from China dominated the third season, in 2016. Nineteen-year-old Dou Zecheng defeated Zhang Xinjun in the season-opening Henan Open, and Dou just kept winning. He eventually captured four titles, setting a record for single-season earnings CN¥1,144,350. The University of Oklahoma's Charlie Saxon won two tournaments and finished second on the Order of Merit. Dou was prominently featured in a Fortune article that appeared during the 2016 season.[5] The Tour also made history by hosting its first tournament outside of Mainland China, the Clearwater Bay Open at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong.

Omega China Tour[edit]

The previous China-based tour, the Omega China Tour, ran from 2005 to 2009. It was created to encourage the development players who intended to move up to the Asian Tour or other major international tours, and also to help accelerate the development of golf in the People's Republic of China, following the sports reintroduction to the country in the 1980s, having been absent during the early communist era.

Launched by the China Golf Association in 2005, the tour began with four three-day tournaments, each with a minimum purse of US$100,000. This increased to six four-day tournaments in 2006, and then eight in 2007. It was initially planned to have ten tournaments in 2008, but this was not possible, and there were again eight events.

China has hosted some big-money European Tour sanctioned tournaments, but at the launch of the Omega China Tour, the executive vice-president of the China Golf Association Jiang Xiuyun commented, "The future for golf in China – the real, long-term future – is not paying large sums to bring the world's superstars to play here. It is creating our own stars".[6] The Singapore-based World Sports Group was granted a five-year contract to organise the events. The Omega China Tour folded in 2009.

2016 season[edit]

The table below shows the initial 2016 schedule. "Date" is the ending date of each event. OWGR is the number of Official World Golf Ranking points awarded for that tournament. All tournaments had a purse of ¥1,200,000.

Date Tournament Winner OWGR pts
15 May St. Andrews Henan Open China Dou Zecheng (1) 6
29 May United Investment Real Estate WuHan Open China Dou Zecheng (2) 6
5 Jun Cadillac Championship United States Alexander Kang (1) 6
12 Jun Lanhai Open Australia Rohan Blizard (1) 6
26 Jun Sunning Estate Nanjing Zhongshan Open China Dou Zecheng (3) 6
3 Jul Ping An Private Bank Wanda Open South Korea Kim Tae-woo (1) 6
4 Sep Yulongwan Yunnan Open China Dou Zecheng (4) 6
11 Sep Chongqing Jiangnan NewTown KingRun Open Thailand Gunn Charoenkul (2) 7
18 Sep Pingan Bank Open United States Charlie Saxon (1) 7
6 Nov Clearwater Bay Open Australia Daniel Nisbet (1) 7
13 Nov Putian Open South Korea Kim Tae-woo (2) 7
20 Nov Zhuhai Hengqin Phoenix Tree Open United States Charlie Saxon (2) 7
27 Nov Buick Open China Zhang Huilin (2) 7

Web.com Tour qualifiers[edit]

The top-five players on the Order of Merit earned Web.com Tour cards for 2017.

Rank Player Country Events Prize money (CN¥)
1 Dou Zecheng  China 13 1,144,350
2 Charlie Saxon  United States 13 871,395
3 Alexander Kang  United States 12 597,575
4 Kim Tae-woo  South Korea 12 578,886
5 Zhang Xinjun  China 11 504,675

2015 season[edit]

The table below shows the initial 2015 schedule. "Date" is the ending date of each event. OWGR is the number of Official World Golf Ranking points awarded for that tournament. All tournaments had a purse of ¥1,200,000.

Date Tournament Winner OWGR pts
5 Apr Buick Open New Zealand Josh Geary (1) 6
17 May Eternal Courtyard Open Taiwan Chan Shih-chang (1) 6
24 May United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open Canada Justin Shin (1) 6
31 May Lanhai Open New Zealand Josh Geary (2) 6
13 Sep Pingan Bank Open Canada Eugene Wong (1) 6
27 Sep Cadillac Championship Australia Bryden Macpherson (1) 6
4 Oct Yulongwan Yunnan Open New Zealand Josh Geary (3) 6
11 Oct Lushan Open Australia Bryden Macpherson (2) 6
18 Oct Chongqing Jiangnan NewTown KingRun Open China Zhang Xinjun (2) 6
22 Nov Nine Dragons Open China Chao Haimeng (1) 6
29 Nov Hainan Open China Zhang Huilin (1) 6
6 Dec Capital Airline – HNA Real Estate Championship China He Zeyu (1) 7

Web.com Tour qualifiers[edit]

The top-five players on the Order of Merit earned Web.com Tour cards for 2016.

Rank Player Country Events Prize money (CN¥)
1 Bryden Macpherson  Australia 8 769,960
2 Josh Geary  New Zealand 9 747,230
3 Zhang Xinjun  China 12 545,046
4 Dou Zecheng  China 12 483,813
5 Eugene Wong  Canada 11 454,768

2014 season[edit]

The table below shows the initial 2014 schedule. "Date" is the ending date of each event. OWGR is the number of Official World Golf Ranking points awarded for that tournament. All tournaments had a purse of ¥1,200,000.

Date Tournament Winner OWGR pts
20 Apr Mission Hills Haikou Open South Korea Wang Jeung-hun (1) 6
4 May Buick Open United States Sam Chien (1) 6
18 May United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open Australia Brett Drewitt (1) 6
8 Jun Lanhai Open Australia David McKenzie (1) 6
15 Jun Earls Beijing Open China Zhang Xinjun (1) 6
10 Aug Yulongwan Yunnan Open Thailand Gunn Charoenkul (1) 6
7 Sep Chateau Junding Penglai Open South Korea Todd Baek (1) 6
14 Sep Cadillac Championship Australia David McKenzie (2) 6
28 Sep Jianye Tianzhu Henan Open China Li Haotong (1) 6
16 Nov Nine Dragons Open China Jin Cheng (a, 1) 6
23 Nov Hainan Open China Li Haotong (2) 6
30 Nov CTS Tycoon Championship China Li Haotong (3) 6

Web.com Tour qualifiers[edit]

The top five players on the Order of Merit earned Web.com Tour cards for 2015.

Rank Player Country Events Prize money (CN¥)
1 Li Haotong  China 12 967,788
2 Zhang Xinjun  China 8 650,600
3 Brett Drewitt  Australia 12 585,196
4 Sam Chien  United States 12 573,951
5 Todd Baek  South Korea 11 535,920

Source[7]

Order of Merit winners[edit]

Year Winner Earnings (¥)
2016 China Dou Zecheng 1,144,350
2015 Australia Bryden Macpherson 769,960
2014 China Li Haotong 967,788
2009 Australia Kurt Barnes 264,750
2008 China Liao Guiming 375,125
2007 China Li Chao 652,125
2006 China Zhang Lianwei 540,000
2005 China Li Chao

References[edit]

External links[edit]