May 15, 2018

Charlie Saxon leads Tour Order of Merit, rises to World No. 254

BEIJING, CHINA—Charlie Saxon rose to World No. 254 and the top of this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit following his joint runner-up finish at the Haikou Championship, the fourth of 14 events this season.

After earning RMB 270,000 for winning the previous week’s Changsha Championship, Saxon was second on the Order of Merit ahead of Haikou, where the 25-year-old American added another RMB 132,000 to boost his season earnings to RMB 422,335 (about US$ 66,643).

In 2016, Saxon finished second in the money list to progress to the Tour – the path to the PGA TOUR – but was unable to retain his card, having started 2017 with hip surgery and rehabilitation. Last year, he also played on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, winning the Lexus Peru Open in October and finishing 12th in the money list.

Todd Baek soared to second in the PGA TOUR Series-China money list with RMB330,300 after his two-stroke victory over Saxon and Canadian Justin Shin in Haikou earned him RMB 270,000.

Baek, 26, finished fourth on the 2014 money list to qualify for the Tour, where the big Korean played full seasons in 2015 and 2016 before finishing 15th in the money list on last year’s Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada.

American Jeffrey Kang, also 26, is third with RMB320,250 in his first season on the Tour, having won the season-opening Chengdu Championship in March just weeks after winning the first International Qualifying Tournament in Haikou.

China’s Yi Cao, 27, won the Chongqing Championship, the season’s second event, and is fourth with RMB 282,675, narrowly ahead of England’s William Harrold (RMB 282,550), who started the year with two runner-up finishes.

Chinese Taipei’s Chiehpo “Max” Lee, 23, and Japan’s Taihei Sato, 24, are sixth and seventh with RMB 213,750 and RMB 210,562 respectively.

England’s Callum Tarren (RMB 181,300), Canada’s Shin (RMB 152,250) and Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira (RMB 135,362) round out a top 10 featuring seven nationalities.

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

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.