Canada’s Justin Shin won his second career PGA Tour Series-China title in wire-to-wire fashion and leapt 56 spots to 11th place on the order of merit after pocketing the 378,000 yuan ($53,000) winner’s check at the season-ending Macao Championship on Sunday.
Starting the day six strokes clear of China’s Dou Zecheng after opening rounds of 63-62-66, Shin continued his superb play to card a 3-under 68. He finished at 25-under, notching a three-stroke victory at Caesars.
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American Max McGreevy tied for 41st, which was still more than enough to secure player-of-the-year honors ahead of compatriot Trevor Sluman, who missed the cut this week.
McGreevy, who had nine top-10s and a victory this season, will have full playing rights for the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour season. Compatriot David Kocher finished third on the money list, while France’s Cyril Bouniol and South Korea’s Luke Kwon finished fourth and fifth to also secure Korn Ferry membership.
Dou, who won the 2016 order of merit and is a member of the Korn Ferry Tour, closed to within three strokes of Shin after 12 holes and ended up shooting a 65 to finish alone in second.
Richard Jung shot a 67 to secure third place at 19-under, two shots ahead of Bouniol. Kwon tied for fifth, at 16-under, along with Thailand’s Suteepat Prateeptienchai, American Shotaro Ban and Australia’s Aaron Wilkin.
Shin was in stunning form all week, carding 24 birdies and two eagles against only three bogeys to win his first title on the tour since winning the 2015 United Investment Real Estate Open in Wuhan.
“I just really wanted to have a second win here in China. My last one was in 2015, and I wanted to win so badly right away but it didn’t happen until now,” said Shin. “So, I’m just really glad I did, and I hope to get more wins out there now.”
Shin, who played a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017, had been struggling with his game in China. He came into this week ranked 67th on the order of merit and in danger of losing his tour card for next season. However, a putter change last month followed by two good results on the Korean Tour obviously helped Shin regain his confidence.
He recorded three birdies in a bogey-free round on Sunday despite feeling pressure all day from playing partner Dou.
“I knew I needed to keep playing aggressive because I knew Dou could make a lot of birdies, and he did. On the first nine he was 3-under and he was catching,” said Shin. “I was struggling to make birdies and felt a lot of pressure because I knew that Dou could do a lot of crazy things. Luckily, I made a nice long putt on 12, which helped me make it through.”
At the start of the round, Dou knew that he would need Shin to fall back if he wished to close the large gap. For the tour’s 2016 player of the year, who is back in Asia to prepare for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, that didn’t happen. However, Dou was more than happy with his second-place finish, which will give him plenty of confidence heading to Shanghai for the first WGC tournament of the season.
“It was a really great week. I knew it was going to be really difficult to catch Shin, and he played really well again today,” said Dou.
“I’m just really happy with how I played, and I love being back in China. It feels good to play at home, and now I’m just going to keep practicing to get ready for the WGC-HSBC Champions.”