February 10, 2018

Max Hsieh celebrates ace, two eagles in front-nine 29

HAIKOU, HAINAN, CHINA—Minhsuan ‘Max’ Hsieh of Chinese Taipei celebrated a hole-in-one at the 165-yard ninth to complete a stunning 7-under 65 in the third round of the PGA TOUR Series-China International Qualifying Tournament No. 2 at Mission Hills Haikou.

The 22-year-old, who turned pro in 2016, teed off on 10 at the Sandbelt Trails Course. He bogeyed the par-5 11th before a birdie at No. 16, a long par-3, led to an even-par first nine that gave no indication of the thrills to come.

After a birdie on the par-5 first, Hsieh snared spectacular eagles on the par-4 third and par-5 eighth before sweetly connecting with a 6-iron for the second ace of his career and a stunning second-nine 29.

Having started Saturday in a tie for 92nd following opening rounds of 79 and 76, the easy-smiling youngster dramatically moved up the leaderboard to 4-over to put himself in contention for Tour status.

“I’ve never shot 7-under in nine holes,” said Hsieh, who said confidence led to his first eagle on No. 3.

“In the first two rounds I was hitting 3-wood to leave my second shot before the bunker. Today, I was feeling good and it was downwind so I hit a hard driver, it carried the bunker and I had 26, 27 yards to the hole. The pin was on the top of the slope and I hit a 58-degree wedge, it bounced once and then dropped in.”

Four pars followed before Hsieh’s next eagle at the 502-yard eighth, secured by a long putt of almost 40 feet.

“I also hit a pretty good drive there and had 234 yards to the hole. I hit 2-iron and was trying to leave my ball over the hole a little bit, at the bottom of a slope, to make my putt a bit easier. I did it and the putt was exactly as I imagined it, about 12 or 13 meters.”

Hsieh saved his best for last at the par-3 ninth, a hole that has left several players content with bogey when played from the longer tees. Today, the tee was up and Hsieh made it look like child’s play, although he admits that it wasn’t exactly the shot he was aiming for despite a nice connection.

“It was into wind and I was hitting an easy 6-iron and it was good contact, but it was a little bit left of my target. I was aiming right of the pin to leave an uphill putt and it was just one yard left of my target. It had just one bounce, checked and rolled in the hole. What a day,” smiled Hsieh, whose only other hole-in-one was six years ago.

For live scoring, visit ‘Leaderboard’