Techakanokboon wins first pro title, capturing Zhuhai Championship
October 07, 2018
By By PGA TOUR Series-China Communications, PGATOUR.COM
- October 07, 2018
- Kevin Techakanokboon celebrates after winning Zhuhai Championship. (PGA TOUR Series-China/Leckie Wong)
ZHUHAI, China — American Kevin Techakanokboon shot a closing 2-over 73 to hold off Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira and win his first pro title, winning the Zhuhai Championship, the 50th event since PGA TOUR Series-China’s inception, in 2014.
With Malaysian pro Arie Irawan as his caddie for the weekend, Techakanokboon parred the last seven holes at Orient Golf Club to finish 4-under overall, one ahead of Kosaihira, who despite the disappointment moved to third on the Order of Merit. Finishing third and two strokes behind was Order of Merit leader Charlie Saxon, who solidified his position at the top of the earnings’ chart with his performance The Orient Golf Club.
Techakanokboon – nicknamed ‘Tech’ – started the week 88th on the Order of Merit, so he was primarily determined to play well in a bid to finish in the top 50 on the money list and retain his Tour card for 2019. Things ended a little differently, as he took home the RMB 270,000 winner’s check.
“It still really hasn’t sunk in yet, and I’m sure later I’ll really feel the emotions of it, but right now I’m just really happy to be done with it,” said Techakanokboon, who’s now 20th on the money list as he heads to the season-ending RMB 2 million Clearwater Bay Open in Hong Kong. “I’m feeling pretty relieved. I knew I needed a good three weeks in the last three events to try and keep my status for next year, and thankfully I’ve done that.” Techakanokbook improved to No. 20 on the last earnings’ list.
Techakanokboon, who also has citizenship in Thailand, picked up his only two birdies of the day on Nos. 2 and 3 but bogeyed Nos. 4, 7, 8, and 11, before seven straight pars was enough to hold off Kosaihira on a difficult course and scoring day.
“I had quite a few chances for birdies on the back nine, but nothing quite went in. Pars are not bad on a day like today, as the course was playing pretty tough,” said Techakanokboon, who graduated from Long Beach State University in 2015.
“Arie helped a lot today. He just kept me really focused on our game plan. I made a good bogey on eight after hitting in the hazard on the par-3, and that really kept the round going and I just tried to hang in there.”
Kosaihira, who was playing in the in the group behind the leaders, started the day with an eagle on the par-5 and then racked up five birdies, including on three of the last five holes, and five bogeys, even losing four balls during the day.
His runner-up finish propelled him three spots on the Order of Merit. “I played good today. I hit into hazards four times and still shot 2-under, so I’m happy with the round,” said Kosaihira. “This result has helped me move inside the top-five on the Order of Merit and gives me some confidence for Hong Kong. I can’t wait to play there.”
Saxon started his final round with 10 consecutive pars before carding bogeys on Nos. 12, 14 and 16—missing a shortish par putt there—before closing with back-to-back birdies to secure solo third.
The American has now earned RMB 1,076,967 to become just the second player after Zecheng “Marty” Dou – who played on the 2017-18 PGA TOUR – to earn more than RMB 1 million in a single season.
“It was just a grind out there. I was getting up and down from a lot of places to save par and just really trying to put the ball into position,” said Saxon, who is now almost RMB 200,000 ahead of Tarren (RMB 878,600) in the Order of Merit. “It was disappointing to make some bogeys on the back nine, but to birdie the last two and finish solo third means I made a huge chunk of change on the last couple of holes. That’s really important towards the money list.”
With one tournament remaining—the Clearwater Bay Open next week in Hong Kong—only Callum Tarren can mathematically catch and pass Saxon on the Order of Merit. Saxon holds an RMB 198,367 lead, with 360,000 promised to the winner in Hong Kong. Kosaihira is 379,885 behind Saxon.