PGA TOUR China Q-School: Rd. 4 wrap
March 14, 2014
By Laury Livsey, PGATOUR.COM
- Australia's David Lutterus was medalist by four strokes at PGA TOUR China's first Q-School.
SHENZHEN, CHINA -- With a seven-shot lead and his PGA TOUR China Series playing card secured as he headed into the final round of the Series’ first qualifying tournament, David Lutterus took a nice Friday stroll around the course, shot a final-round, even-par 72 --his worst round of the week -- and made history by winning this first qualifier. He defeated Benjamin Lein by four strokes, with Taiwan’s Kuan Po Lin and Mathew Perry tied for third seven shots back.
Lutterus led a group of 20 players who emerged from this event holding exempt status for the inaugural PGA TOUR China Series season, which begins in one month.
“I had a lot of things not go my way, I had a couple of bad breaks and didn’t score well. But I was well inside the number, so it was all good,” Lutterus said. “Every shot I hit was either short of the green or long of the green. It was very frustrating. Again, I knew I was inside the number, but I wanted to finish strong. But obviously to win is nice. I didn’t quite have it today, but it was enough.”
Lutterus went birdie-free on his front nine Friday at Shenzhen Guangzhou CTS Tycoon Golf Club, shooting a 2-over 38 and watched as both Lein and Perry made runs at him. Lein made the turn at 2-under, while Perry was 3-under. Lutterus eliminated any thoughts the field had of catching him when he made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. He added a birdie on the 14th and coasted from there, his bogey on the 72nd hole a meaningless flaw on his scorecard.
Lein recovered from a bogey-bogey start in his final round to make seven birdies over is final 16 holes to at least put a little pressure on Lutterus.
“I’m pretty happy with what I did this week. Being my first week in China, I didn’t know what to expect. But this is definitely a very satisfying week for me,” said Lein. “After turning pro last year, it’s great to have a place to play so soon.”
Lutterus was one of five Australians to earn his card. Besides Lutterus, Aaron Townsend (tied for eighth), Scott Laycock (tied for 10th), Ryan Haller (tied for 14th) and Gavin Flint (tied for 17th) were the Australians who walked away as members of the PGA TOUR China Series.
The U.S. and South Korea had four qualifiers, while Thailand had three and New Zealand had two, with Taiwan and Sweden, each with a player, rounding out the field. Chinnarat Phadungsil, Dongha Lee, Seong Kim and Arnond Vongvanij all tied for 20th, at 7-over. With only 20 cards available, Phadungsil earned the final playing spot by defeating the other three in a playoff.
Besides Lee, Kim and Vongvanij, those just outside the top-20 were Japan’s Rui Takamatsu, Taiwan’s Hao Sheng Hsu and Jia You Lu and Australia’s Do Eun An. They all earn partial-exempt status and will have some access to the PGA TOUR China Series. With his playing status safely in hand, Perry smiled following his round.
“I’m happy to be finished and achieve what I came here to do. I played well again today, and it was good to finish the tournament strong, with two 69s." said Perry. “This gives me someplace to play April to September. On the Australasian Tour, we don’t have any big events in that period, so it gives me a full year of playing on Tour.”
Added Lutterus, “I’m excited for the year and excited to play in China. It’s my first time here, and I’ve really enjoyed the place. I’m looking forward to getting the Tour started and hopefully finishing top-five (on the money list).”
The PGA TOUR China Series will hold its final qualifying tournament March 18-21, at Mission Hills Golf Club’s Sandbelt Trails Course in Haikou. The official season begins April 17, with the first tournament also at Haikou’s Mission Hills Golf Club.
In the four rounds of the Shenzhen qualifying tournament, three different holes played as the most difficult during the four rounds—with only the first hole playing the hardest twice. In Friday’s final round, the par-4 17th hole had a stroke average of 4.58, with the hole giving up a mere three birdies and 12 scores of double bogey or worse. The first hole was right behind, with the par-4 at 4.56 in the final round. The first hole had the distinction of being the most difficult over 72 holes.