December 10, 2018

Yechun Yuan, Paul Imondi earn starts on 2019 Tour

China’s Yechun “Carl” Yuan and American Paul Imondi secured at least eight starts on the 2019 Tour after finishing the 72-hole Final Stage qualifying tournament in a tie for 34th.

Players who finished top-40 (and tied) are guaranteed eight starts next year, with this year’s cut-off at 18-under 270. 

Yuan, 21, and Imondi, 34, each shot a closing 3-under 69 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Arizona on Sunday to land right on the number with 14 others to gain the last direct entries into the first eight Tour events next year.

Yuan – who shot earlier rounds of 67, 68 and 66 at Whirlwind – had finished 24th on the 2018 PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit in October to earn a place in the Second Stage of Tour qualifying in November, when he produced a staggering finish.

After it looked likely he would miss out, Yuan birdied his final four holes to finish 14-under – the cut-off for the last spots to Final Stage.

Yuan and 'Andy' Zhang Huachuang, have become the fourth and fifth Chinese players to earn status on the ‘Path to the PGA TOUR’ and will follow in the footsteps of countrymen Haotong Li, Zecheng Dou and Xinjun Zhang, who all graduated from the PGA TOUR Series-China. Dou and Xinjun Zhang will both play on the 2019 Tour after playing on the 2017-2018 PGA TOUR.

The big-hitting Yuan has been in great form all year, winning the Tour’s Qingdao Championship in July as an amateur and helping his country win a team silver medal at the prestigious Asian Games before turning pro in late August. 

Imondi, who finished 58th on the Tour’s Order of Merit, was consistent throughout the qualifying process, starting from the First Stage tournament in September.

After making it through both First and Second Stage, the 34-year-old Imondi kept his cool in Final Stage with rounds of 65, 65, 71 and 69, and like Yuan, will now play on the Tour for the first time in his career.

England’s Callum Tarren of England, who won the 2018 Order of Merit, was exempt from Final Stage and has a full card on the Tour for the 2019 season.  

American Charlie Saxon, New Zealand’s Nick Voke, Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira, and Korea’s Todd Baek, also earned membership after finishing in the top-five of the money list.