Guangzhou, China: Less than five months after turning pro, Singaporean Abdul Hadi (pictured left) earned the only full card available by securing a two-stroke victory over American Max McGreevy at the PGA Tour Series-China’s first Global Qualifying Tournament.
McGreevy joined five others who earned full status for the Series’ first six tournaments of the 2019 season. Due to darkness, officials had to postpone a play-off after the first hole was played to determine who receives the last five exempt cards.
After dangerous weather and then darkness twice forced the postponement of the third round, Hadi had to reset on hole 10, starting the day one shot behind playing partner Otawa Keisuke (73) of Japan before overtaking him by two heading into the final 18 holes. After a short break, Hadi closed with an even-par 70 to move to an eight-under total of 272 at the 6,615-yard Foison Golf Club’s Dye Course. Hadi played 27 holes on the final day.
Three Japanese players earned a guaranteed six starts in 2019, with Ryonosuke Seki (65) and Keisuke tying for fourth, and Ryoma Yamagata (67) placing seventh. Kenta Endo birdied the first play-off hole to also earn a spot while Suzuchiyo Ishida bogeyed to miss out.
The play-off will resume on Saturday morning with five spots still available. Other player to earn status and avoid the play-off were South Korean Kang Tae-young (71), who finished alone in third, and American Brad Gehl (68), who tied with Seki and Keisuke. Finishers 13 to 35 (and ties) are conditionally exempt through the first six events.
Singaporean Hadi was steady on the front nine, carding two birdies to make the turn at two-under. He was leading by five strokes at one point before things started to go wrong on the back nine. Hadi recovered from back-to-back bogeys on holes 11 and 12 with a birdie on 13 before carding a triple-bogey on the 14th. Leading by just one shot at this point, Hadi kept his cool to birdie 15 and 18, much to his relief.
“I was quite happy with the front nine, but when I got to the back nine, the wind started picking up and I wasn’t hitting my driver well and I lost my ball on 14. It was getting pretty stressful,” said Hadi. “My putter was good, and I managed to roll in some good putts. I rolled in a 20-footer for birdie and a few eight-footers near the end, which saved me.”
The 23-year-old is now looking forward to living the life of a professional golfer and making the most of his rookie season.
“I’m just really happy to have secured 14 events in China because sometimes in your first year as a pro you’re not sure what events you can get into. But now I know I have 14, so that’s really good for me,” said Hadi. “First year as a pro you have to get the experiences and learn as much as you can.”