July 28, 2018

Canada’s Campbell retains two-stroke lead at Beijing Championship

BEIJING, CHINA—Left-handed Canadian Peter Campbell shot a 2-under 70 to move to 15-under and retain a two-stroke lead after the third round of the RMB 1.5 million Beijing Championship, the ninth event of this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China. 

With temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius in Beijing, Korea-born American Sejun Yoon shot a bogey-free 66 at Topwin Golf and Country Club to move to 13-under, one ahead of China’s Huilin Zhang (67), looking for his third Tour title after wins in 2015 and 2016, American Ryann Ree (68) and Korean Woojin Jung (68).

Singapore’s Quincy Quek (72) was alone in sixth as he remained at 11-under, one ahead of China’s Yi Cao (69), winner of the Chongqing Championship in March, first-round leader Luke Toomey (69) of New Zealand and Australia’s Bryden Macpherson (66), who won the Tour’s first visit to Topwin in 2015.

Campbell, 35, is bidding for a first career victory, having previously played on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. The overnight leader double-bogeyed the third after hitting his drive into the water, then birdied Nos. 5 and 7 either side of a bogey, and eagled the par-5 eighth after hitting a 3-iron to 10 feet.

After starting the back nine of the Ian Woosnam-designed layout with a birdie, Campbell bogeyed 17 then closed with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th to regain his two-stroke buffer.

“It was so hot all day. It was just a battle to stay hydrated and just keep in the moment, but I battled all day long. I didn’t really have my best ball-striking, but managed to get around and post a 2-under,” said Campbell, who also played in Sunday’s final group at the Chongqing Championship in March, when he was joint-second after 54 holes.

“I’m feeling good. I have a two-stroke lead going into Sunday, so what more can you ask for. It would be really cool to win. Honestly, I don’t even know how I’d react. We’ll see. There’s still lots of golf to be played.”

Yoon, 27, is desperate for a victory after recording joint runner-up finishes on the Tour in 2015, 2016 and at this year’s season-opening Chengdu Championship, and will play in Sunday’s final group with Campbell and Zhang.

The American, who lives in San Diego near fellow Tour player Todd Baek, birdied Nos. 7, 8, 11, 13, 14 and 16 to put himself on the shoulder of the leader as he continues his quest to finish in the top-five of the money list. 

“I was hitting some good shots in the beginning, but the putts wouldn’t fall, then on seven I made around a 5-footer. I think that started my day and on the back nine I had some rough shots, but I got up and down, and it worked out really good,” said Yoon, who finished 15th and 16th on the Order of Merit in 2015 and 2016 respectively. 

“For the last couple of weeks, I haven’t really hit it that well, so I really focused on my long shots and I think it’s paying off right now. I want to win. I’m playing all of this season and trying to get on the Web.com Tour, so that’s my goal for the year.”

Zhang, 28, will have local support as he seeks to kick-start an underwhelming season so far, with a tie for 11th at the Changsha Championship his best result this year.

“Overall my game was very good. I’ve played this course many times and I've also been in the leading group before, so I’ll just go with the flow,” said Zhang, sixth on the Order of Merit in 2016.

“If you care too much about it, you’ll put yourself under too much pressure, which is not a good thing.”

Every tournament on this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China offers RMB 1.5 million, a 25-percent increase over purse levels from 2016.