September 22, 2019

Motin Yeung wins Zhuzhou Classic day after turning 26

ZHUZHOU, China—One day after his 26th birthday, Hong Kong’s Motin Yeung fired a final-round, 5-under 67 to secure a narrow one-stroke victory over Canada’s Peter Campbell (65) and Japan’s Keisuke Otawa (68) at the Zhuzhou Classic. 

In just his second event of the PGA TOUR Series-China season after playing nearly a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour, Yeung fired rounds of 67-69-71-67 for a 14-under 274 at Xiangshui Bay Golf Clubto claim his first Tour title since winning the 2018 Kunming Championship.

On Sunday, the leaders’ scores were neck and neck all day before Yeung made his move on the back nine. After making the turn at 1-under, Yeung carded birdies at Nos. 10 and 15 and an eagle (hole 14) to give himself a one-stroke lead over Campbell, who already had completed his round and was in the clubhouse.

Approaching the busy grandstand on the closing hole, Yeung, who was born in Beijing, knew he needed to get up and down for par but was in a bunker, just short of the green. His chip-out settled eight feet from the cup, and he lipped in his putt, much to the delight of the fans.

“I was pretty happy after I made the final putt, especially because the ball barely made it. That almost gave me a heart attack,” said Yeung, who fell to his knees in relief after the putt dropped. “The atmosphere was amazing, and lots of fans, so it’s good to feel what it’s like to be in contention again and signing autographs. I’m just really happy.”

Yeung finished seventh on the Order of Merit in 2018 and earned status on the Korn Ferry Tour by tying for seventh at the LECOM Suncoast Classic after Monday-qualifying into the event. That performance earned him additional starts. He finished the season with 147 points on the points list and lost his status.

Coming into the week, Yeung knew he needed a big week as he looks to get back onto the “Path to the PGA TOUR,” and he proved clutch. After missing the cut last week in Haikou, Yeung has moved from no ranking to 19th on the Order of Merit and now has a chance to break into the top 10, starting at the next tournament—the Macau Championship. No matter what happens, Yeung, inside the top 25, will earn direct entry into the second stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.

“I don’t have much expectation, and I think that helps. I’m just always trying to do my best and play my best,” said Yeung. “The goal was to get into second stage, and I needed to win this week so of course it feels amazing to do it. It feels great to hit my target, and hopefully there are more good things to come.”

Campbell put up a valiant effort on the final day. He was 8-under through 17 holes before a wayward tee shot into the bushes on hole 18 forced him to take an unplayable-lie penalty. From there he made an impressive up and down, but the bogey still cost him as he watched Yeung finish with three straight pars.

Despite falling just short, Campbell’s finish has moved bumped him into 25th on the Order of Merit,  which also happens to be the cut off for direct entry into second stage of the Korn Ferry Qualifying Tournament. Not a bad consolation prize.

“That was the goal coming into this event so it’s disappointing to come so close to winning, but now I get into second stage, which helps a lot,” said Campbell, whose scorecard included six birdies, one eagle and a bogey. “I had already applied to first stage, so now I can withdraw. Overall, it was a really good tournament. I was hitting the ball great all week and luckily it all came together in the final round.

Otawa also jumped significantly on the Order of Merit. Starting the tournament in 77th place and in danger of losing his card for next year, Otawa jumped nearly 50 spots into 33rd. The top-50 finishers at the end of the year retain their Tour cards.