China’s Cao shoots 63, wins playoff to capture Chongqing Championship
March 25, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Yi Cao came from eight shots back to capture his first professional victory. (PGA TOUR Series-China/Zhuang Liu)
Final Results: Chongqing Championship
Pos. Name Scores 1 Yi Cao (China) 72-67-72-62–274 (-14) 2 William Harrold (England) 67-66-70-71–274 (-14) 3 Mac McCardle (Australia) 68-69-73-67–277 (-11) 4 Chiehpo Lee (Chinese Taipei) 69-69-70-69–277 (-11) 5 Shunyat Hak (Hong Kong) 72-71-69-66–278 (-10) 6 Joseph Winslow (U.S.) 68-72-73-66–279 (-9) 7 Taihei Sato (Japan) 71-72-67-69–279 (-9) 8 Trevor Sluman (U.S.) 73-69-67-70–279 (-9) 9 Yuwa Kosaihira (Japan) 70-70-69-70–279 (-9)
CHONGQING, CHINA—China’s Yi Cao beat England’s William Harrold with a birdie on the first extra hole after firing a bogey-free, 9-under 63 to force a playoff at the Chongqing Championship.
It was a first pro title for the 28-year-old Cao, who started the day eight shots behind Harrold before his nine-birdie round set the clubhouse lead at 14-under, a tally matched by the Englishman after a 71 at Poly Golf Club’s South Course. The 63 set a new record for low finish by a winner, bettering the 64 by Chinese Taipei’s Shihchang Chan in winning the 2015 Eternal Courtyard Open. Making up the eight-stroke deficit also easily set a new Series mark. The previous best come-from-behind win five strokes by Daniel Nisbet at the 2016 Clearwater Bay Open.
Australia’s Max McCardle and Chinese Taipei’s Chiehpo “Max” Lee (69) shared third, at 11-under, one ahead of Hong Kong’s Shunyat “Jason” Hak, who fired a 66 to get inside the top five.
Cao’s career-best tie for third, ironically, came at the 2015 Eternal Courtyard Open, where Chan came from behind to win in Zhengzhou. Cao also recorded seven other top-10s in his 29 previous events on Tour. Yet he had never been able to get his hands on a trophy. Now he has on a final day he’ll always remember.
After opening with birdies on the first two holes, Cao added three in a row from the seventh, picked up another three in succession, starting at No. 12, with his ninth birdie of the day coming at No. 16. Cao then waited anxiously to see if Harrold could overtake him.
On the 542-yard, par-5 18th, Harrold had a look at winning in regulation but missed a difficult, 20-foot, downhill birdie putt. His par forced a playoff and a return to No. 18.
Although Cao’s second shot on the first extra hole landed in a greenside bunker, the Chinese star splashed out to four feet to set up a winning birdie putt that Harrold couldn’t match. The victory prompted wild celebrations beside the green.
“It’s like living a dream now. It’s like a dream come true,” smiled Cao, who was overwhelmed by hundreds of spectators, volunteers and caddies all cheering his name and asking for pictures.
“I played solid today, tee to green. I putted well and put myself in the right position all the time so that’s it. It’s awesome!”
Harrold was aiming to become the Tour’s first British winner but instead settled for another runner-up performance after tying for second at the season-opening Chengdu Championship last week.
“I played good, had a couple of bogeys, but I also made some good birdies so that’s just the way it is. I tried to keep calm, that was my goal,” said Harrold, who had four birdies and three bogeys before making par on the last five holes. “It sucks that I didn’t win, but I was happy with how I played. I’m still happy, solo second as opposed to tied second, so it’s good. I am disappointed, but I’m not disappointed at the same time.”
The PGA TOUR Series-China will take a break in April before resuming with the Changsha Championship at Hunan Dragon Lake Golf Club from May 3-6.