American Jeffrey Kang shot eight birdies in a 6-under 66 Sunday to secure a one-stroke victory over Herbert at the Qualifying Tournament No. 1, at Mission Hills in Haikou on the Chinese island of Hainan.
Kang, who started the day one shot behind Sweden’s Oskar Arvidsson, finished with a 13-under total of 275 over the 7,147-yard Sandbelt Trails Course, followed by playing partner Herbert (67) and another Australian, Kevin Yuan (66), in third place, at 11-under.
DJ Loypur and Andrew Schonewille (who booked the 15th and final full card by winning a three-way playoff) were the other two Australians to graduate while New Zealand’s Luke Toomey is also through.
The top-five money winners at the completion of the PGA Tour Series – China will be rewarded with status on the Web.com Tour, the path to the PGA TOUR, in 2019.
Herbert, 22, came into the tournament in good form, having finished eighth on the 2017 PGA TOUR of Australasia Order of Merit and then earned a place at The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie through a tie for eighth at last month’s Singapore Open.
“I felt really good out there,” he said. “It was good to get off to a really hot start and take advantage of that front nine downwind, and it was pretty ‘cruisy’ on the back, wasn’t too much stress, so it was a nice day out there.”
Toomey, formerly New Zealand’s top amateur, made one of the most remarkable turnarounds of the week, having been 8-over overall after 11 holes of the second round after playing the first two days with Herbert.
New Zealander Luke Toomey.
“I’m pretty relieved and also ecstatic just to be back in form again,” said Toomey. “Starting off after a win last week, I almost kind of slacked off and maybe fell into the trap of playing with Lucas, one of my good friends.
“Then I realized I was 8-over and had a bit of a chat with myself and got my head back in the game and now here I am,” said Toomey, who finished third at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
This week’s 120-player field featured players from 16 countries and territories across Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America, with the largest contingents from the U.S. (34) and South Korea (29).
After a one-year hiatus, PGA TOUR Series-China resumes in March with a 14-tournament schedule, with each tournament offering RMB 1.5 million, a 25-percent increase over purse levels from 2016. The Mainland China Qualifying Tournament for China passport holders will be held at Wolong Lake Golf Club in Liuzhou City in Guangxi from February 27-March 2.
LUCAS HERBERT EARNS OPEN START
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