Former top Singaporean amateur Abdul Hadi carded a 1-under 69 in a rollercoaster round to move to 6-under and share the halfway lead with Japan’s Otawa Keisuke (66) at the PGA TOUR Series-China’s Global Qualifying Tournament. The 72-hole tournament at Foison Golf Club is the first of three international qualifying tournaments that will help determine 2019 membership.
Last October, Abdul Hadi was one of Singapore’s top amateurs along with Gregory Foo (71) before the duo both decided to pursue professional careers. Now less than five months later, the 23-year-old shares the lead at a professional event that will offer full membership all season to the medalist. Finishers 2-12 will earn status through the first six events and finishers 13-35 and ties will be conditionally exempt through the first six events.
Trailing just two shots behind the leaders are Koreans Taeyoung Kang (69) and Gyumin Lee (67), Thailand’s Suteepat Prateeptienchai (69), New Zealand’s Sam An (69) and American Brad Gehl (70), who is hoping to combine this Tour with PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, where he already has full status and where he has played for the last four years.
Hadi started the day with a one-shot lead but failed to maintain it after signing a scorecard that read similar to a novel, with a great start, unfortunate middle and a strong ending. After firing four birdies in his first five holes, Hadi followed a bogey on hole 8 with a birdie on 10. He then dropped two shots on hole 11 followed by a triple bogey on 15. He then closed with back-to-back birdies.
“I had a great start, and I‘m happy with how I played overall. I think the wind picked up on the back nine, and I struggled a bit but I’m proud with how I recovered to finish the back nine,” said Hadi, who is trying not to get too ahead of himself. “I would like to win this week, but right now I am trying to keep my head down and focus on one shot at a time.”
Keisuke is also in good form and was pleased with his round which consisted of seven birdies and three bogeys. The Tokyo native has high hopes and admits he is inspired by Yuwa Kosaihira, who became the first Japanese player to progress from the PGA TOUR Series-China to the Web.com Tour after finishing fourth on the Tour’s 2018 Order of Merit.
“Today I played really well, made lots of birdies and got a bit lucky,” said Keisuke. “It’s my dream to follow Yuwa [Kosaihira] and play in the U.S. on the Web.com Tour or the PGA TOUR, and it’s a good chance here to play in China so we will see how the next two days go.”
Australia’s Ryan Ruffels, who teed off on 10, bounced back from an opening-round 74 to card a 67 today and now lies in a tie for 28th. The 20-year-old, who has made the cut in 10 PGA TOUR events, was 5-under through 16 holes before closing with back-to-back bogeys. Instead of being too disappointed, he still remains optimistic with lots of golf left to play.
“I shot better today but I still didn’t feel that great. I felt a bit uncomfortable over the ball all day, but it was one of those days where I felt uncomfortable, but I still hit 14 fairways,” said Ruffels. “I struck my irons great and gave myself a ton of chances, so it could very easily have been something pretty low but still 3-under for the day so hopefully (I) can keep making more birdies the next couple of days, and then I’ll be in a pretty good spot.”
Also chasing not far behind in a tie for eighth, at 3-under, is the Japanese duo of Kenta Endo and Suzuchiyo Ishida, Canada’s Myles Creighton and American Peter Creighton.