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Zhang gets glimpse of what to work on

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-10 07:17

Poor putting takes shine off US PGA debut

Zhang Xinjun played his first PGA Tour event outside of China at last week's Safeway Open in Napa, California.

Along with prize money, he picked up some putting tips.

Brendan Steele of the US fired a 69 in Sunday's final round to seal the championship for the second straight year after starting the day two shots behind third-round leader Tyler Duncan, who finished at 15-under 273.

Tony Finau closed with a 69 at Silverado Resort and Spa to finish third.

Zhang gets glimpse of what to work on

Zhang shot even-par 72 during in windy conditions on Sunday to tie for 37th. He earned $27,280 and 16.5 Fed-ExCup points.

Zhang will next play an official tournament at a place he knows well - Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, home of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

That tournament is two weeks away.

"Overall, I played well. My mistakes were mostly unforced errors. And not just today, but yesterday, as well," Zhang said in Napa.

China's all-time money leader on the PGA Tour China said his putting continues to be an issue. He took 120 putts over the four rounds and three-putted five greens.

But by studying his peers on the green, he hopes to improve.

If one hole typified Zhang's week, it was No 18 on Sunday.

After hitting his second shot 40 feet from the pin on the par-5, he missed his eagle attempt and was left with a five-footer for birdie.

Instead of making the putt and moving to 5-under, his final three-putt of the tournament resulted in a par.

"The rest of my game is really good right now, especially off the tee," Zhang said, noting his scores of 69-72-71-72.

"If I can limit the three-putts and the unforced errors but continue to hit the ball the way I have been, I'll be OK for the rest of the year.

"For the most part, I'm satisfied. I know I can play a lot better, but even-par isn't too bad on a day that was so windy."

Zhang and Dou Zecheng, the other player from China fully exempt on this year's PGA Tour, are not eligible to play in the next two events - the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea.

They will both play in Shanghai, at the HSBC Champions. Zhang will be making his third consecutive appearance, while Dou will be playing the tournament for the fourth time.

At last year's HSBC, Zhang tied for 21st. His best finish in the tournament came in 2011 when, as a 24-year-old, he tied for 13th.

Dou has improved each year he's played the Shanghai tournament, with a tie for 69th (2015) followed by a tie for 51st (2016) and a tie for 40th a year ago.

 Zhang gets glimpse of what to work on

China's Zhang Xinjun tracks a shot during the first round of the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California, last week.Robert Laberge / Getty Images / Afp

(China Daily 10/10/2017 page22)

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