Drewitt takes United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open in playoff
May 18, 2014
By PGA TOUR China staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Australian Brett Drewitt captured his first win since turning pro in 2013.
FINAL LEADERBOARD: United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open
WUHAN, China -- Brett Drewitt wasn’t expecting to be in a playoff as he watched playing partner Xin Jun Zhang arrive at the 18th green. With Zhang holding a one-shot lead on the 18th hole, Drewitt expected Zhang to two-putt and win the tournament. When Zhang’s par putt from five feet missed, it opened the door for Drewitt, and he took advantage, capturing the United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open with a birdie putt on the second hole.
The victory is Drewitt’s first since he turned pro last year.
Zhang’s missed putt on 18 -- his only bogey of the day -- forced the first playoff in PGA TOUR China Series history, an extra session that also included China’s Hao Tong Li, all finishing at 8-under 280.
Despite the lifeline it provided Drewitt, as Zhang missed his par putt, the Australian even winced a little.
“It was not a good thing to see, seeing another player three-putting to get into a playoff,” Drewitt said. “I had to regroup. There was a tournament to win, and I had to go out and try to do it.”
After all three players parred the first extra hole -- again the par-4 18th -- the players returned to the 18th tee for the second hole of sudden death. The first playoff hole was again torture for Zhang, who missed an eight-foot birdie attempt on a similar line to his previous miss that would have sealed the victory.
On playoff hole No. 2, both Zhang and Li hit their drives in the bunker, with Drewitt’s landing in the middle of the fairway. Li’s approach shot missed the green, while Zhang hit a remarkable approach from the sand, the ball stopping not far from where he had stood the last two times he visited the green. With Drewitt eight feet away, he watched Zhang again miss an 18th-hole putt, this time from 10 feet. Drewitt then then calmly knocked in his putt for the win.
“I’d seen the putt a few times before, so I had a good idea of what it was going to do,” the 23-year-old Drewitt said of his winning putt. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I had a good read on it. I knew I didn’t have to hit it too hard because it was downhill, down grain.
“When I saw that it was a foot out ... ” Drewitt said, “that’s when I realized it was going to go in. There was no way it was going to miss. To see that and have the realization I had won and have all the emotions flood out, it was unreal. It was the best feeling I think I could ever have.”
For Zhang, he had essentially three putts on the 18th hole of different lengths from the same position during a one-hour period. Had any of them fallen, he would have won. None of them did, though, as he attempted to become the first native of China to win on the PGA TOUR China Series.
“I played so well on the back nine, so I feel very disappointed,” Zhang said. “I had birdie chances in the playoff, so I’m disappointed I missed them. I felt nervous before the playoff, when I missed what would have been the winning putt on my last hole. But I felt relaxed in the playoff. My putting line was just not enough.”
Missing the playoff by two strokes was a quartet of players, who tied for fourth -- Scott Barr, Ze Yu He, Anthony Kang and David Lutterus.
Despite the tough loss, Zhang still took some good away from his four-day performance here.
“Obviously I want to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR China Series, but two seconds means I have enough ability to win,” Zhang said, noting his runner-up finish in the Series’ inaugural event, the Mission Hills Haikou Open.
Without much time to consider the ramifications of his win, Drewitt talked about how playing the PGA TOUR China Series is moving him toward his professional goals.
“It’s a great stepping stone to where I want to be. I want to get to the U.S. This Tour is 12 tournaments that I can play this year that will get me to where I want to be if I play well enough,” he added.
Drewitt has been committed to the PGA TOUR China Series since qualifying for the circuit in March. He intends to play all 12 events. Prior to his win Sunday, Drewitt’s tie for 13th at the Buick Open was his best showing.
Runner-up Hao Tong Li became the first PGA TOUR China Series player to make two eagles in one round. He holed out on the par-4 fifth hole and then made eagle at the par-5 third hole.
After making a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th hole in the second round, and birdies there in the first and third rounds, China’s Fang Yi Li’s dominance of the hole ended Sunday when he made a mere par there. Li tied for 13th.
Scott Barr fired a 5-under 67 Sunday, the low round of the day. He joined Brett Drewitt, Anthony Kang (67s Saturday) and Xin Jun Zhang (67 in the first round) for the low 18-hole score at the Wuhan Open.
Despite coming up short in the playoff, Hao Tong Li continued his steady play. In 12 PGA TOUR China rounds Li has only had two over-par rounds and is currently on a streak of seven consecutive rounds at par or better.
This season, Hao Tong Li has top-20 finishes on three different Tours but his performance at the Wuhan Open was his best this season, improving on the fifth-place showing he had at the Buick Open two weeks ago. He also tied for 13th at the Japan Golf Tour’s Indonesian PGA Championship, and he tied for 19th last week at the OneAsia Tour stop in South Korea -- the CS Caltex Maekyung Open.
Sam Chien, winner of the Buick Open and the Order of Merit leader through two PGA TOUR China Series tournaments, earned his third consecutive top-10 with his ninth-place showing. Only Chien and Xin Jun Zhang have three top-10s through the Series’ first three events.
Here’s how the four amateurs who made the cut sit through 54 holes of the Wuhan Open:
T20 Jin Zhang 73-72-73-72 -- 290 (+2)
T33 Yi Cheng Wang 70-75-77-75 -- 297 (+9)
T47 Yan Wei Liu 75-74-79-71 -- 299 (+11)
T57 Zi Han She 73-75-77-76 -- 301 (+13)