The top-15 finishers in each of the two 72-hole tournaments played over Mission Hills Haikou’s Sandbelt Trails Course will earn a full card on this year’s 14-event PGA TOUR Series-China, while the next 25 finishers will be conditionally exempt.
The Mainland China Qualifying Tournament for Chinese passport holders will be held at Wolong Lake Golf Club in Liuzhou City in Guangxi from February 27-March 2 (Tuesday-Friday).
After a one-year hiatus, PGA TOUR Series-China will resume in March, with each tournament offering RMB 1.5 million, (A$290,000) a 25-percent increase over purse levels from 2016.
The break, following the 2016 series of events, came as a result of the various parties involved being unable to agree on several issues but the PGA Tour Series-China has already provided opportunity for players such as Australian Brett Drewitt and New Zealander Josh Geary to reach the Web.Com Tour and in Drewitt’s case the US PGA Tour.
The last man to win the money list - China's Zecheng Dou - has gone on to do so well on the Web.Com Tour he is now playing the PGA Tour and last week's Dubai Desert Classic winner Li Haotong - who won three times on the PGA Tour China in 2014 - is yet another very successful product of the Tour.
Xinjun Zhang is another Chinese product of the Tour now playing the PGA Tour alongside Zecheng Dou.
At season's end the leader of the money list will earn full status on the Web.Com Tour and the leading five players earning conditional status
Lucas Herbert earlier this month at the Singapore Open.
Australasians in Thursday’s field include the talented Lucas Herbert who has had a fine summer of golf in Australia with top tens at the NSW and Australian Opens and the Australian PGA and an eighth-place finish in Singapore two weeks ago earned him a start at this year's Open Championship.
“The PGA Tour is the ultimate ambition. I love being in America so any way to play a Tour that will get me status there, I’ll take with two hands. I played amateur golf in the U.S. in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and just really enjoyed the lifestyle,” said Herbert.
“I’ve seen Ryan [Ruffels] and Curtis [Luck] come through, and I’d love to play with them in the U.S. I’d like to play on this Tour in China and in Canada (Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada) and give myself some options for the middle of the year, when the Australasian Tour is pretty quiet.
“My form had always been there, but I just didn’t have anywhere to play [outside of Australia]. Last year I played a few Monday qualifiers in Canada, but once I got a good run of events going at the end of last year, I was able to really take advantage of that and get some good results in.”
Herbert will be joined this week by other Australians, former US Amateur Championship semi-finalist Brady Watt of Perth, D.J. Loypur, Kevin Yuan, Andrew Schonewille, Corey Hale, Joe Darcy and An Douen.
That group will be joined by New Zealanders, Luke Toomey, Hayden Beard, Cameron Jones and Sean Tan.
In next week’s second International Qualifying, another 13 Australasians including former Australian Amateur Champion Scott Arnold will tee it up.
The PGA Tour established PGA Tour Series-China in 2014 as its third international developmental tour, following in the footsteps of PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the Mackenzie Tour–PGA Tour Canada.
Since its inception, PGA Tour Series-China players have received Official World Golf Ranking points for top finishes at official tournaments.
LUCAS HERBERT QUALIFIES FOR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
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