Haikou, China: Chen Guxin fired a closing three-under-par 69 to claim victory in the 2018 Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at Mission Hills Haikou.
It was Chen’s second victory at Mission Hills in recent months, the 14-year-old having hit the headlines by winning the China Amateur Open at Mission Hills Dongguan last November.
Chen, who lives on the tropical island of Hainan, made the most of home advantage in the 11th edition of the Jack Nicklaus event to top an international leaderboard and earn an invitation to compete in the Nicklaus Junior Championship in the United States this summer.
The rising Chinese star follows in the footsteps of compatriots Guan Tianlang and Jin Cheng, both past winners of the Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship before going on to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and play in The Masters.
Chen’s brilliant final round followed two level-par 72s to finish on 213, one ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Chou Yi-ting who captured the girls’ title. The 17-year-old Chou also qualifies for the Nicklaus Junior Championship in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Following three rounds on the Sandbelt Trails Course at Mission Hills Haikou, other qualifiers for the Florida event include third-placed Pan Junjie from China on 217 – taking the total of mainland Chinese qualifiers to six – plus players from Hong Kong (Iris Wang Xin-yi and Sophie Han), India (Bhuvas Nagpal), Macau (Ning Wang) and Thailand (Phusana Phutachanatib, Panchalika Arphamongkol, Pemika Arphamongkol, Pakorn Wongpen and Pimpakorn Panyadilok).
Golfers from Pakistan and the United States were also in action in The R&A and China Golf Association ranked event, part of the Mission Hills Junior Golf Programme which stages more than 30 tournaments and events each year and has been helping to grow the sport in China for more than two decades.
“I am incredibly proud that our China event is now entering its second decade and is more popular than ever,” said Nicklaus, golf history’s greatest champion with 18 Majors and also considered one of the game’s most acclaimed designers with more than 300 courses worldwide. “I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Mission Hills and the Chu family dating back to 1992 when I started designing my golf course at Mission Hills in Shenzhen.”
Tenniel Chu, Group Vice-Chairman of Mission Hills, added: “We are very proud to be working with Jack Nicklaus and taking his junior championship into its 11th year. Mr Nicklaus has been a rich part of the Mission Hills story as both a course designer and a junior golf ambassador and his tournament has played a strong part in the development of Chinese golf.”