Hong Kong: Cheng Jin has been crowned champion of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) after Sunday’s fourth round was cancelled. A lengthy suspension in play, due to high winds and rainfall from a nearby typhoon, eliminated the possibility of play being completed before darkness.
The first group teed off as scheduled at 6:40 am with nine groups making it on course for the start of round four. Play was subsequently suspended at 7:41 am. With conditions not improving by midday, Jin, the 54-hole leader at 11-under-par, became the winner over joint runners-up, Ryan Ruffels and Cameron Davis of Australia.
“It is extremely disappointing that we are not able to complete the final round of this year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship,” said David Cherry, Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation.
“It was a very difficult decision to make as we wanted to see the completion of 72 holes as much as all the competitors did. The competition committee was committed to completing the final round on Sunday if at all possible. However, the extreme weather conditions meant that completing in daylight would not be possible.”
Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said: “While weather regrettably shortened the event, we have identified a very worthy and talented champion in Cheng Jin.
“This is a moment of celebration. He showed his tremendous skill during the championship and we look forward to welcoming him to Augusta next April. We know Cheng will proudly represent the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and everyone who loves the game from this region of the world.”
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “Cheng Jin has played tremendously well this week and is a deserving champion. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Cheng and the runners-up, Cameron Davis and Ryan Ruffels, to The Open Qualifying Series for The 145th Open at Royal Troon in July. I know the players will be disappointed not to have been able to play the final round but they should take great credit for their performances this week.”
The Chinese number one-ranked amateur golfer managed to retain his place at the top of the leaderboard at the end of round three thanks to a superbly judged chip at the par-five closing hole, from which he went on to secure a decisive birdie. The win means the Beijing native becomes the second player from China to lift the AAC trophy following the triumph of Guan Tianlang in 2012.
Jin excelled throughout the championship, after a record-breaking eight-under-par 62 on the first day, followed by rounds of 68 and 69 on days two and three.
His reward is the much-coveted spot at the Masters Tournament next year, where he will get his first chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with the biggest names in the game and experience the pinnacle of his chosen sport.
With bad weather coming into the area on Saturday, players were informed at the end of round three that every effort would be made to complete the championship, but if a full day’s play could not be completed, the result of this year’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship would be declared after 54 holes.
Since its inauguration in 2009, the AAC has produced an impressive list of winners, including Guan, who went on to make history as the youngest competitor in Masters Tournament history and two-time champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who has recorded top-20 finishes across all four Majors since turning professional in 2013.
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