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Carl looking to stay hot in Hebei

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-06 09:43
"Carl" Yuan Yechun of China resumes his quest for a place on the Tour at this week's PGA Tour Series-China Qinhuangdao Championship in Hebei province. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chinese star "Carl" Yuan Yechun is hoping for another good result at this week's 1.5 million yuan ($220,000) Qinhuangdao Championship - only his second event as a pro - as he continues his bid to finish in the top 10 of the PGA Tour-Series China's order of merit with just four tournaments left.

Yuan will play with American Kurt Kitayama and Chinese Taipei's Chiehpo "Max" Lee in the first two rounds at Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club a week after finishing second at the Suzhou Open, where he earned 162,000 yuan to move to 30th on the money list.

The top five on the 2018 order of merit will earn status on next year's Tour, while players in the top 10 secure entry into the final stage of the Dec 6-9 Tour qualifying tournament.

China's Cao Yi is currently in 10th place with 360,188 yuan.

Yuan is confident of hitting his target after playing in the final round's last group in four of his five events on this year's tour and closing out in July to win the Qingdao Championship, although he was unable to accept the winner's purse of 270,000 yuan ($39,500).

"If I keep playing well I have a really good shot of getting in the top 10, so that's the goal. I think if I can continue to play my game, then I might be able to do it," said Yuan, who played his first practice round over the Poly Golf Club's 7,185-yard, par-72 layout on Tuesday.

"It's an interesting course. It's scorable if you drive it well. It's more of a ball striker's course. There are a lot of longer holes and long par-3s, but to be in the fairway and hitting the greens is definitely crucial here."

The 21-year-old, who played three years at the University of Washington, said his longer-term goal is to make it onto the PGA Tour.

"I'm looking to play on the PGA Tour and in the Olympics in the future. My goal is to make it onto the PGA Tour in less than five years, hopefully," said Yuan, who turned pro on Aug 28 after helping China win a team silver at the Asian Games.

"I'm still trying to build a good foundation. I am taking it step by step by playing the PGA Tour Series-China, and hopefully I'll make it to the Tour and then make it on the PGA Tour in two or three years."

Since its inception, PGA Tour Series-China players have received Official World Golf Ranking points for top finishes at official tournaments.

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