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Rookie Kiwi Voke wins third PGA Tour China event

Less then twelve months from turning to the paid ranks Voke has Web.Com Tour status. (Photo: PGA TOUR Series-China / Zhuang Liu)
New Zealand’s Nick Voke won his third PGA TOUR Series-China in four events at the season-ending RMB 2 million Clearwater Bay Open to bank RMB 360,000 and finish third on the Order of Merit, so joining four other Tour players on next year’s 2019 Web.com Tour.

Starting the final day five strokes clear, Voke shot a third consecutive 3-under 67 for a 14-under total at The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club.

In a dramatic turn of events, England’s Callum Tarren fired a 62 to finish solo second and win the Order of Merit by less than 3,000 RMB ahead of American Charlie Saxon, while Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira and Korea’s Todd Baek finished fourth and fifth on the money list to also secure Web.com Tour membership.

American Benjamin Lein shot 65 to secure third place at 10-under, three shots ahead of compatriot Charlie Netzel (64), Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul (68) and Australia’s Deyen Lawson (68). Korea’s Taewoo Kim, who played in Sunday’s final group for a second successive year, carded 70 to take seventh at 6-under, one ahead of England’s William Harrold (67).

Voke, 23, continued his remarkable recent run on the PGA TOUR Series-China, which started with a tie for fourth in Suzhou then back-to-back wins in Qinhuangdao and Macau last month. After a tie for 16th in last week’s Zhuhai Championship, the rookie pro returned to his winning ways to collect the biggest check presented on the Tour.

“It’s been a really awesome run of golf and I’m really excited to see what I do in the next couple of years. This win means a hell of a lot, to be honest with you,” said Voke.

“The first couple of victories I managed to come from behind, so to come out here with a five-shot lead and know that everyone is chasing me, it’s a different sort of victory. I’m very proud with how I handled myself and how I went out and played today. It’s absolutely the greatest pro week I’ve had so far.”

“I’m pretty exhausted and absolutely thrilled to be where I am and I think it will take me a couple weeks to realize what I’ve accomplished here. Right now, though, I’m just pretty tired.”

Despite feeling some pressure from Tarren entering the back-nine, the 23-year-old Voke remained calm and managed to grind it out on the back-nine.

“The first time I saw the leaderboard was on the ninth green and I knew Callum was going deep and I had to keep things going if I wanted to win,” said Voke.

“I’m just shocked and I’m just over the moon. I felt calm all day because at the end of the day I needed something special to catch Charlie and luckily I’ve produced that. Even on the last hole, I was calm because it was either win, second or bust, so I just had to perform and luckily I did.”

The top-five on the PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit will automatically earn membership on next year’s Web.com Tour, the top-10 will be eligible for the Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament from December 6-9 and players 11-25 will be exempt to the Second Qualifying Stage.

Victorian Deyen Lawson finished as the leading Australian this week when he tied for 4th.

 

 

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