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Hot putter helping Winslow warm to task of winning

China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-17 09:48
Joseph Winslow kisses the trophy of the PGA Tour Series-China Yantai Championship on July 15, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

YANTAI, Shandong province - Joseph Winslow reflected on a fine weekend's work and then immediately set his sights on more of the same.

The towering American gave his bid to qualify for the Web.com Tour a massive shot in the arm by winning the Yantai Championship in Shandong province on Sunday - his first career victory.

The 25-year-old won by three strokes to leap from 20th to fourth on the PGA Tour Series-China order of merit with four tournaments remaining, pocketing 270,000 yuan (around $40,000).

The top five players after the final event of the year will earn status on next year's Web.com Tour-gateway to the promised land of the PGA Tour.

This weekend the tour moves on to another seaside test at Tiger Beach Golf Links, located between Qingdao and Yantai in Shandong province.

"My whole goal this year is to get my Web.com card for next year," said Winslow.

"It's one step at a time, one tournament at a time, and there's a lot of work I still have to do.

"I'm excited with where my game's at and where it's been going. I'm going to enjoy this, then I'm going to refocus and get back to work in Qingdao and go do it again."

Winslow, who led after the first two rounds in Yantai, carded a closing 65 to overhaul third-round leader Yuwa Kosaihira, the 20-year-old Japanese who finished runner-up to earn 162,000 yuan and move to sixth on the money list.

American Charlie Saxon tied for 16th and remains the runaway order of merit leader with 783,085 yuan.

Hong Kong's Motin Yeung (436,675 yuan) and South Korean Todd Baek (429,650 yuan) remain second and third on the money list after finishing eighth and tied-fifth respectively on Sunday, while Winslow (395,837 yuan) and England's Callum Tarren (370,100 yuan) round out the top five ahead of Kosaihira (355,262 yuan).

Winslow fired nine birdies in a closing 7-under 65 for a 19-under total of 269 as he made up a three-shot deficit on the back nine to overtake Kosaihira (69), who led the 6-foot-5 Kansas native and Chinese amateur Carl Yuan Yechun by one shot starting the final round.

After nine holes, Winslow was three shots behind Kosaihira, who drained four straight birdie putts from No 5 on his way to a 32 on the front nine.

He birdied 10 and drew level after the Japanese 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 led for the first time on Sunday after he chipped in for birdie on the par-3 16th and Kosaihira bogeyed, allowing the American to carry a one-shot buffer to the 18th, a hole he bogeyed the previous day to lose a share of the lead.

"I wasn't thinking about yesterday's bogey at all," said Winslow, who hit his next shot to 10 feet before sinking the putt.

"I knew 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,"

"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 number. I swung a confident eight-iron and I was fortunate to get it basically next to the pin."

Yuan, who played at the University of Washington for three years, was excited about tying for third.

After playing in Sunday's final group for the past two events, he's hoping to build further confidence at the next two events in Qingdao and Beijing as he prepares to compete in the Asian Games in Indonesia next month.

"I'm happy with the week overall, for sure. I played a really good strategy and only made four bogeys for the entire week and nothing worse, which is a good for me," said Yuan.

"My putting 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."

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