HONG KONG, CHINA—Hong Kong amateurs Hunghai “Matthew” Cheung and Shingfung “Terrence” Ng, both fresh from the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Singapore, finished joint runners-up at the Monday qualifier for this week’s Clearwater Bay Open to join the 120-player field for the PGA TOUR Series-China’s season-ending event.
The two amateurs were among five Hong Kong players to finish in the top-10 of the qualifier at The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, and are among 17 local players who will compete in the 72-hole event, which offers a Tour-record purse of RMB 2 million (about HKD 2,280,000; USD 290,000).
Motin Yeung – seventh on the PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit – and Shunyat “Jason” Hak, Hong Kong Nos. 1 and 2 respectively, are both Tour members, while James Stewart, Steven Lam, Wilson Choy, Derek Cheung and Pui Chau are also in the field through Hong Kong PGA exemptions.
Cheung, 23, and Ng, 24, both shot 1-over 71 on Monday to finish three behind New Zealand’s Shane Kuiti, a Guangzhou-based teaching pro.
Australia-based Cheung – who played for Hong Kong with Yeung and Hak in last year’s National Games of China – teed off on 10 and suffered double bogeys on two of his first three holes. However, he responded with birdies at Nos. 15, 1, 2 and 6 before bogeying his last hole to join a stellar field including 2017 champion James Marchesani of Australia, his former roommate at Oklahoma City University.
“I played really well on my second nine to scrape in. I didn’t start off very well, so I’m very happy I was able to get in with 1-over today,” said Cheung, who was born in Hong Kong and has been based in Australia since he was eight.
“I’ve probably played Clearwater Bay about 20-25 times, but there’s some new tees out there that make the course a little bit different, so I’ll play a couple more practice rounds the next couple of days. This year, I’m just going to go out there and stick to my game plan, which is to play it aggressive but execute well.”
Ng, who teed off on the first, also carded a 71 a day after finishing 37th at the Asia-Pacific Amateur in Singapore, where Cheung tied for 54th.
“I’m pretty happy with my round because I just got in this morning and I’m pretty tired. It was pretty tough out there. The front nine was pretty windy down by the ocean, while the back nine was a little bit better, so actually I’m very happy about it. I played this course before I went to Singapore, so that helped me a little bit,” said Ng.
“Hopefully I can play a little bit better on Thursday. I’m going to rest a bit, which is important because I’ve been playing quite a lot the past few weeks. I’m going to rest and then try to sharpen up my game before the event.”
Grant Gibson, Clearwater Bay’s Head Pro and Deputy Director of Golf, and fellow Hong Kong players Stuart McKinnon and amateur Sam Maltby each carded 72 to share fourth with Chinese amateurs Yang Xiao and Yang Kuang, and Singapore’s Craig Crandall. Chinese Taipei teenager Lawrence Ting, who won last year’s Clearwater Bay Open qualifier, shot 73 and rounded out the top-10 after winning a five-way playoff.
Following the conclusion of the qualifier, Hong Kong pros Nathan Goulding, Alvin Cheung and Haoyang “David” Li – who had Yeung as his caddie – and local amateurs Gahay “Maurice” Leung and Jonathan Lai were awarded the five sponsor exemptions into the field. All competed in the Monday qualifier.
The top-five on the PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit will automatically earn status 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.
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.