BEIJING, CHINA—New Zealand’s Luke Toomey, Singapore’s Quincy Quek, China’s Xu Wang and American Joseph Winslow, winner of this month’s Yantai Championship, each shot 6-under 66 to share the first-round lead at the RMB 1.5 million Beijing Championship, the ninth event of this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China.
Hong Kong’s Motin Yeung, third on the Order of Merit, carded five successive birdies from the fourth on his way to a 67 at Topwin Golf and Country Club, which previously hosted Tour events in 2015 and 2016, and the last three China Opens.
Yeung shared fifth place with Japan’s Hidetomo Sato, Americans Joseph Gunerman and Gregory Moss, Canada’s Peter Campbell and Italian Aron Zemmer, who outshone playing partners Charlie Saxon (70), the Order of Merit leader, and Chinese amateur Yechun “Carl” Yuan (71), winner of last week’s Qingdao Championship.
Toomey, 25, played in the first group off No. 1 and posted the clubhouse lead after seven birdies – including three of the last four holes – and a bogey over the Ian Woosnam-designed course at Topwin.
Last month, the Kiwi closed with a 9-under 62 to share eighth at the Kunming Championship, but missed the cut in Yantai and Qingdao over the past two weeks, so was happy to be among the front-runners at Topwin.
“It’s a course that suits my eye and there are endless ways to play it. I feel really comfortable here,” said Toomey, who tied for 10th at the Chongqing Championship in March in his first Tour event after progressing through Q-School.
“I got the putter rolling today. I holed some really nice putts from 10-20 feet, which I haven’t done these last couple of weeks, so I feel really good on the greens. I can see the lines out there, so I putted well.”
Singapore’s Quek, who teed off on 10, carded four birdies in his first nine before picking up further shots on Nos. 1 and 8 in a bogey-free round as temperatures reached 33 degrees Celsius in Beijing.
“Overall, the temperature was manageable and it’s nice that there were water points on every tee-box. I also had an umbrella on the trolley, so that definitely helped,” said Quek, 31, who tied for sixth in Kunming.
“I’m starting to see a trend, starting to play a lot more under-par, and just managing my game a lot better than I used to in the past. Now when I go out for a round of golf, the confidence level is just a little bit higher than it used to be. Fairways look a little bit wider and holes look a little bit bigger.”
Winslow, who also teed off on 10, is looking for his second title in three weeks and was happy with his score after an eagle on the par-5 eighth, his second-last hole.
“I hit a nice drive down there to where I actually had 229 yards to the pin, which is a perfect little 4-iron for me. I hit a nice, high cut in there to 10-12 feet and rolled it right in, so that was a nice way to close my round,” said Winslow, currently fifth on the Order of Merit.
“One of the big things from a nutritional standpoint is the electrolytes I take on the course. I drank two bottles to keep the energy up. Overall, I did a really good job just playing my game and staying mentally tough out there.”
Every tournament on this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China offers RMB 1.5 million, a 25-percent increase over purse levels from 2016.
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.