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Tarren targeting tour's top spot

China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-25 09:30
Callum Tarren reacts during the the third round of the Qingdao Championship. [Photo by Zhuang Liu/PGA TOUR Series-China]

England's Callum Tarren moved to second on the PGA Tour Series-China order of merit after earning the winner's check of 270,000 yuan ($39,700) at last week's Qingdao Championship.

Now he has set his sights on leapfrogging Charlie Saxon of the US with a top finish at this week's Beijing Championship.

Tarren, 27, has earned 640,100 yuan from eight events, which have included three runner-up finishes, and now is within reach of money-list leader Saxon, who tied for 13th at Tiger Beach Golf Links and has 811,585 yuan from eight events.

Tarren is aiming to overhaul the leader in the remaining six tournaments as he bids to secure a place on next year's Tour, where Saxon, 25, played last year after finishing second in the 2016 order of merit.

Since 2014, the China tour has rewarded its top five finishers with status on the Tour - the pathway to the PGA Tour.

"I have quite a good cushion in second, but I just want to keep pushing on and keep challenging Charlie because any time that you challenge him, you're not going to be far away," said Tarren, who has been runner-up in six of the past 11 events in China.

"I'm happy with how the first half of this season has gone. I came seventh in my first year in China in 2016, and I've been very consistent since. I've had a good start to this year, so I've just got to keep going. My sights are set on that card, but if I aim for the top five I might miss, so the goal is to win the order of merit."

Hong Kong's Motin Yeung (444,175 yuan), Korean Todd Baek (429,650 yuan), who withdrew last week, and American Joseph Winslow (424,337 yuan) round out the current top five.

All five are in the field for this week's Beijing Championship at Topwin Golf and Country Club, where Saxon won on the tour's previous visit in 2016. Tarren would like to be the next to lift a trophy in the capital.

"I played Topwin in 2016, so I know the course. I didn't play last year because I went back home, so I'm going to have a practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and see how it goes," said Tarren.

"I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. I really want to win on this tour. I've had six seconds, which is frustrating, but hopefully a win is just around the corner."

College hotshot

China's Xue Han, who plays on the US collegiate circuit, shot a 4-under 68 to win the Monday qualifier and secure entry into the Beijing Championship. Singaporean Lin Jianwen, who is based in Guangzhou, shot 70 at Topwin Golf and Country Club to finish second, a shot ahead of New Zealand's Hayden Beard.

Chinese amateur Wu Tianyu carded 72 to share fourth, with Korean Ian Song and Chinese Taipei's Tsai Chehung, while Chinese Taipei's Lawrence Ting, Korean Lee Jun-hyuk and Chinese duo Tao Yuezu and Han Pengfei shot 73 to round out the 10 qualifiers.

Xue, 20, who has finished his sophomore year at the Florida Institute of Technology, qualified for the second time in three events and is hoping to score even lower on Thursday.

"I'm excited for Thursday. I need to just stick to the plan, don't overthink and just be consistent," he said. "Hit the middle of the greens and the middle of the fairways."

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