Voke wins Clearwater Bay Open and Web.com Tour membership
October 14, 2018
By By PGA TOUR Series-China Communications, PGATOUR.COM
- October 14, 2018
- Nick Voke celebrates after winning the Clearwater Bay Open. (PGA TOUR Series-China/Zhuang Liu)
HONG KONG — He wasn’t on PGA TOUR Series-China very long, but New Zealand’s Nick Voke sure made his presence felt. Voke, a first-year pro, won his third Series title in four events at the season-ending million Clearwater Bay Open to bank RMB 360,000 and finish third on the Order of Merit, joining four other Tour players on next year’s 2019 Web.com Tour.
Starting the final day five strokes clear of his closest pursuer, Voke shot a third consecutive, 3-under 67 for a 14-under total at The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club.
In a dramatic turn of events, England’s Callum Tarren fired a 62 to finish solo second and win the Order of Merit by less than 3,000 RMB ahead of American Charlie Saxon, while Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira and South Korea’s Todd Baek finished fourth and fifth on the money list, respectively, to also secure Web.com Tour membership.
In the season-finishing tournament, American Benjamin Lein fired a 65 Sunday to secure third place at 10-under, three shots ahead of compatriot Charlie Netzel, Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul and Australia’s Deyen Lawson.
The 23-year-old Voke continued his remarkable recent run on the PGA TOUR Series-China, which started with a tie for fourth in Suzhou followed by back-to-back wins in Qinhuangdao and Macau last month. After a tie for 16th in last week’s Zhuhai Championship, Voke returned to his winning ways to collect the biggest check presented on the Tour.
“It’s been a really awesome run of golf, and I’m really excited to see what I do in the next couple of years. This win means a hell of a lot, to be honest with you,” said Voke.
“The first couple of victories I managed to come from behind, so to come out here with a five-shot lead and know that everyone is chasing me, it’s a different sort of victory. I’m very proud with how I handled myself and how I went out and played today. It’s absolutely the greatest pro week I’ve had so far.”
Voke had admitted he was nervous while in the lead Saturday but managed to stay calm in front of big a crowd and hold on to the lead by carding four birdies and one bogey. Voke had also made only one bogey in each of his previous three rounds.
“I drove it very well all week and didn’t make many opportunities to make bogeys. I only made four in the end, so that just summarizes how it was for me out there. Just very solid and steady golf,” said Voke. “I’m pretty exhausted and absolutely thrilled to be where I am, and I think it will take me a couple weeks to realize what I’ve accomplished here. Right now, though, I’m just pretty tired.”
Despite feeling some pressure from Tarren entering the back-nine, Voke remained calm and managed to grind it out on the back-nine.
“The first time I saw the leaderboard was on the ninth green, and I knew Callum was going deep and I had to keep things going if I wanted to win,” added Voke.
“Just a good gritty effort, that back nine. I stuck to my game plan, and I felt the pressure, but I handled myself and my emotions and some adversity; so just absolutely thrilled.”
Tarren, 28, recorded his fourth runner-up finish of the season to secure the No. 1 position on the Order of Merit, despite never having won on the Tour, which he first played in 2016 when he finished eighth on the money list.
The Englishman carded eight birdies in a bogey-free round as he looked to put the pressure on Voke and test the young New Zealander’s nerves. “I just went out today and thought if I could put some pressure on Nick early on and see what nerve he has and obviously he has pretty solid nerves,” said Tarren, who admitted he was surprised to win the Order of Merit.
“I’m just shocked, and I’m just over the moon. I felt calm all day because at the end of the day I needed something special to catch Charlie, and luckily I’ve produced that. Even on the last hole, I was calm because it was either win, second or bust, so I just had to perform and luckily I did.”