HAIKOU, China— Coached by renowned PGA of America professional Craig Harmon, American Trevor Sluman feels like his game has reached a new height this year as he looks to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Jeff Sluman, who won six PGA TOUR titles in his professional career, including the 1988 PGA Championship.
Trevor Sluman currently leads the Order of Merit heading into this week’s Haikou Championship, the third event of this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China. He will be among the favorites at Sunac Haikou 3KM Golf Club as he finished solo fourth in the same event a year ago.
Despite a steady 2018 and finishing ninth on the Tour’s Order of Merit, Sluman feels his game is in a better place as he looks to continue his good form and progress to the Web.com Tour, the pathway to the PGA TOUR.
“I would say my mental game is in a better spot. After a full year of experience out here [in China] and knowing the courses and knowing how to go about things over the course of the year, I feel mentally stronger, and I think that was a really big reason for the success of the first two events,” said Sluman. “Growing up in a golfing family, my dad and my uncle are very good golfers, and I’ve watched them play my whole entire life. It’s always a joke that it’s in my blood, and I’m just trying to follow my uncle’s footsteps.”
The 25-year-old won his first professional four-day tournament under unfortunate conditions a week ago, capturing the Sanya Championship after officials shortened the event to 54 holes due to the tragic death of fellow Series player Arie Irawan early Sunday morning.
Sluman, the third-round leader, was gracious and humble in being declared the winner. In order to pay proper respect to Irawan, Tour officials only presented Sluman his trophy during a short ceremony Wednesday at the Haikou Championship that preceded a short video tribute to Irawan.
“I wasn’t lucky enough to know Arie too well, but when I was with him, he was always smiling and you could tell he worked really hard at his game,” said Sluman. “I know he was a very popular guy out here on Tour, and we have a ton of mutual friends so you can tell it’s very somber. Everybody is thinking about him. He was a good person, and everyone will be thinking about his family for the rest of the year.”
PGA TOUR Series-China will honor the life of Irawan this week at the Haikou Championship, as the Tour will observe a moment of silence prior to the start of the tournament and players, staff, caddies and all others in attendance will receive “ARIE” stickers to wear.