January 8, 2020

Jiang keeps rolling at Q-School

Liu still chasing history as female seeks membership

GUANGZHOU, China—Amateur Zhijie “Tony” Jiang carded an even-par 71 to extend his lead to three strokes at the halfway stage of the PGA TOUR Series-China Mainland Qualifying Tournament.

After an opening-round 66, the Rutgers University senior carded five birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey Wednesday at Foison Golf Club to remain at 5-under par. 

Fellow amateur Aaron Du and Yaqiao Li both shot even-par to lie in second and third, respectively, while Yan Sun fired a 66 and is fourth, at even-par. 

For Jiang, it appeared it could be another low-scoring day as the 21-year-old opened with a birdie and made the turn at 2-under. However, a wobbly finish, including a pair of bogeys and a double bogey on his final five holes, dropped him back to even.

“I started well but couldn’t keep it going. Overall, I’m happy with how I’m playing, and hopefully I can keep playing well,” said Jiang. “There are still two more days, so I will stay focused and we will see what happens. I’m excited.”

Xi Pu, the youngest player in the field, at age 16, shot a 71 to lie in a tie for fifth with Tianlang Guan. Guan still holds the record for being the youngest player to make a cut at a PGA TOUR event when the-then 14-year-old made the cut at the 2013 Masters.

Female golfer Siyun Liu carded a second consecutive 75 and is tied for 19th. The Wake Forest University senior is still on track to become the first female to earn any type of status on a PGA TOUR-sanctioned Tour. A top-15 would earn her full status, while a finish between 16th and 45th earns her conditional status.

Liu is just two shots from breaking inside the top 15 after an eventful second day. Starting on hole 10, her only birdies on her front nine including was a chip in on No. 13 but she went on to make the turn at 4-over. She regrouped to make two birdies, on holes 2 and 4, before closing with back-to-back bogeys.

”I had a rough start and finish, but overall it was a pretty good day. I made a chip-in for birdie today and also made a couple good birdies after I made the turn,” said Liu, who has the help of her dad, William, on the bag this week. “[On hole 2] I hit a really solid 4-iron and had a six-footer for birdie. Then I thought I skulled my 9-iron on hole 4, but somehow it stopped 10 feet from the hole, and I made the putt so that was a nice way to make a birdie.”

Despite the added pressure, the 20-year-old from Shanghai says she is just trying to enjoy herself and make the most of the opportunity as she prepares for a pro career after her final semester of college.

“I really love that people are enjoying the way that I’ve been playing, and I just hope I can play better and be more entertaining, I guess,” said Liu, who is enjoying playing on the 6,588-yard course.

“I really like the course setup here. It’s very tough, but the holes are still reachable for me. I’ve never played a major championship, but the course and setup sort of feels a little bit like a women’s major championship course,” said Liu. “So, I feel like it’s really good practice for me especially because I’m planning on turning pro, and hopefully I can qualify into some major championships.”

 

Quotable

“My dad is helping a lot. I feel like my dad is playing like a mental support for me, kind of like my coach at school, so it’s nice to have someone to talk to and mess around with throughout the entire day because I get really nervous very easily. If I’m playing by myself, my usual way to cope with it is to just start reading a book. I actually have a book in my bag right now, but when my dad is caddying for me, I can just talk to him and it just lightens up the room a little bit.” – Siyun Liu on having her father as her caddie

“I don’t feel any pressure from the attention, but I am a little bit surprised. My friend just texted me and said, ‘Dude you are on PGA TOUR Series-China Instagram,’ and I was just like ‘Oh, wow’ because I kind of experienced that media during nationals last year because of my hole out I had on hole 9. So, I don’t know, it feels a little bit weird but I guess that’s because this is the second time. I’m kind of getting used to it.” – Siyun Liu

“I’m just trying to play some solid golf, one shot after another. The next two days my plan is to just stay on the fairways and stay on the greens.” – Siyun Liu