Winslow fires 65 to win Yantai Championship, his first pro title
July 15, 2018
By PGA TOUR Series-China Communications, PGATOUR.COM
- July 15, 2018
- Joseph Winslow's four rounds in the 60s were enough for a three-shot win. (PGA TOUR Series-China/Zhuang Liu)
YANTAI, China — It was a long time in coming, but American Joseph Winslow finally won his first career title, capturing a three-shot victory over Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira at the Yantai Championship.
The 25-year-old made nine birdies in a closing, 7-under 65 to finish at 19-under 269, making up a three-shot deficit on the back nine to overtake 20-year-old Kosaihira, who managed a Sunday 69 after beginning the day a stroke ahead of Winslow and China amateur Yechun “Carl” Yuan.
After nine holes, Winslow—who led after the first and second rounds—was three shots behind Kosaihira, who carded four straight birdies, from No. 5, on his way to a front nine of 32. Winslow birdied 10 and drew level after Kosaihira double-bogeyed the par-3 11th.
Both players birdied 12, and Kosaihira took the lead after an eagle at 15, which Winslow birdied. Winslow then took the Sunday lead for the first time when he chipped in for a birdie on the par-3 16th and Kosaihira bogeyed, and the American carried a one-shot buffer to the 18th, a hole he had bogeyed a day earlier to lose a share of the lead.
“I wasn’t thinking about yesterday’s bogey at all. I knew that the key was to hit a good drive up there, and I hit it a little more left than I wanted to, but I knew where the pin was and I still had a good angle,” said Winslow, who hit his next shot to 10 feet, before sinking the putt and screaming in delight. “I knew that with the pin being back-right, I still had a good shot, especially into the wind, and I was able to get a pretty good (yardage) number. I swung a confident 8-iron, and I was fortunate to get it basically next to the pin.”
Winslow was 20th on the Order of Merit coming into this event and will make a big jump toward his goal of finishing the year in the top-five to earn Web.com Tour status for 2019 after earning RMB 270,000, more than double his earnings from the previous six events (RMB 125,837.50).
“My whole goal this year is to get my Web.com (Tour) card for next year. It’s one step at a time, one tournament at a time, and there’s a lot of work I still have to do,” said Winslow, who won the second International Qualifying Tournament in Hainan in February. “I’m excited with where my game’s at and where it’s been going. I’m going to enjoy this tonight, then I’m going to refocus and get back to work in Qingdao and go do it again.”
Despite six birdies and an eagle in his final round, Kosaihira let Winslow back in with his double bogey at 11. Despite a birdie at 12 and an eagle at 15, he then bogeyed 16 and 18—both holes Winslow birdied—to fall short, but he is optimistic more chances to win are in his future.
“I’m happy with the tournament but really disappointed with my double bogey on 11. Joseph played well and hit a very nice chip-in on hole 16,” said Kosaihira, who lives in Osaka. “I’m playing well. I think I could have won today; it was very close. I think next week I can try and win again.”
Yuan, who played at the University of Washington in Seattle for three years, was excited about his tie for third with Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul and after playing in Sunday’s final group for the past two events.
“I’m happy with the week overall, for sure. I played a really good strategy overall and only made four bogeys for the week and nothing worse than a bogey, which is good for me,” said Yuan, who tied for 18th at last month’s Kunming Championship after also closing with a 71.
“My putting,” he continued, “has definitely been getting better compared to the last event, so I got my confidence and I’m excited to play the next two events.”
South Korea’s Todd Baek started the week third on the Order of Merit. He opened with five consecutive birdies en route to a 67 to share fifth with American Charlie Netzel (69) and New Zealand’s Mathew Perry (70), at 11 under, one ahead of Hong Kong’s Motin Yeung (70), who was second on the Order of Merit after winning last month’s Kunming Championship.
England’s Callum Tarren finished ninth at 9 under, two shots ahead of Deyen Lawson, the top Australian finisher for the third successive event.