B.C.’s Shin Wins Wuhan With Wong 2nd On PGA TOUR China

Maple Ridge, B.C.'s Justin Shin Holds The Trophy After His Victory In The Wuhan Open In China

WUHAN, China — Justin Shin,from Maple Ridge, B.C. shot a 3-under 69 in the final round of the United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open to win his first professional title, finishing at 12-under and three shots ahead of fellow Canadian, North Vancouver’s Eugene Wong.

Australia’s Rohan Blizard finished third, while the only Chinese player inside the top 10 was amateur Zihan She, who finished at 4-under, good for T5th and low-amateur honours.

Technically, the win was Shin’s second in China as earlier this year, he won the First Global Qualifying Tournament that earned him his full exemption onto the Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series.

“My second round helped me win this tournament and get to double-digits under par,” Shin said of his second-round 64. Last year at this tournament, three players finished tied at 8-under, with Australian Brett Drewitt winning the title. The 8-under total was exactly the score Shin shot Friday.

Shin began his day with a birdie on the first hole, releasing, as he said, a little pressure he was feeling at the beginning of the round. He stuck his second shot to within a foot for an easy birdie. “That was helpful to me,” he said.

Blizard wasn’t about to go away, though. On the difficult par-3 second hole, with Shin hitting his tee shot to the left of the green, Blizard stiffed his tee shot to three feet and drained the birdie putt.

“I was trying to play match play with Justin,” said Blizard, “and I felt good after two holes.”

However, Blizard gradually shot himself out of contention. His tee shot on No. 3 ended up against the lip of the right-fairway bunker. “The drive was not bad, but I was unlucky,” he added of the drive that led to a bogey.

Another bogey came at the next hole, when Blizard pulled his tee shot and found his ball in a difficult lie. His rescue-club second shot hit a tree, and that adventure eventually resulted in another bogey. Shin took advantage as he birdied the hole with a three-footer to move four shots ahead with the two-shot swing.

Shin took control of the tournament on No. 6 making an eight-foot, left-to-right birdie putt. “It was not an easy putt, and to me it was important,” he said later.

Blizard had one last gasp in him, making birdie on No. 10. When Shin’s drive went into the rough on the far right of the fairway, he thought he could pick up a stroke or two on the par-5. “I didn’t expect Justin to birdie from the hazard,” Blizard explained. But that’s exactly what Shin did. “I birdied, too, but I think that was the turning point. If he had lost his ball,” said Blizard, his voice trailing off.

That, too, was Shin’s last birdie of the day, but it was more than enough. “I was a bit nervous on the tee on the 10th. It’s a really tight par-5. I tried to play aggressive, and [the ball] went right,” he continued. He chipped the ball out and decided to be aggressive again, “because I was playing well the whole day.”

Shin put his approach to nine feet and made the putt. He then finished with eight straight pars.

Meanwhile, Wong shot 5-under 67 to post a score of 9-under in the clubhouse. But with Shin not making any mistakes, Wong could only stand greenside at No. 18 and watch the coronation of Shin.

“I’m satisfied. It was going to be hard for me to catch Justin,” Wong said. “He was 3-under after six holes. And he didn’t fall back. He’s a good player.”

Next up for the players is the Lanhai Open, next week outside Shanghai.

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Final-Round Notes

Champion Justin Shin didn’t play Nos. 7-9 well this week, finishing his four rounds a cumulative 4-over there without a birdie. But he took care of business on the par-5 10th hole. On that hole, he was 5-under for the week, with three birdies and an eagle-3 in the second round.

Shin’s victory is the first by a Canadian in Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series’ history. This season, other wins have come from Josh Geary (New Zealand) and Shih Chang Chan (Chinese Taipei).

Shin is also the first third-round leader to go on to victory this season after three tournaments. A year ago, 10 of the 12 champions were the 54-hole leaders.

The round of the day belonged to Canada’s Eugene Wong, shooting a 5-under 67, punctuated with a two-foot, 18th-hole birdie putt Sunday. Wong has made all three cuts this year, and his runner-up performance this week is his second top-10 of the year—to go with his tie for eighth at the season-opening Buick Open. He moved to fourth on the Order of Merit.