Memorable Birthday Week for Beijing-Born Hongkonger

Motin Yeung drops to his knees in relief after holing the winning putt. Pictures by PGA Tour Series-China/Zhuang Liu.

Zhuzhou, China: A day after celebrating his 26th birthday, Motin Yeung fired a final-round five-under 67 to secure a tense one-stroke victory at the Zhuzhou Classic.

In just his second event of the PGA Tour Series-China season after playing nearly a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour, the Hong Kong player compiled a 14-under total of 274 at Xiangshui Bay Golf Club.

Finishing one stroke in front of Canadian Peter Campbell (65) and Japan’s Keisuke Otawa (68), Yeung claimed his first Tour title since winning the 2018 Kunming Championship.

It was on the back nine that Yeung made his move. After reaching the turn at one-under, Yeung carded birdies at 10 and 15 and an eagle at 14 to take a one-stroke lead over Campbell, who already had completed his round and was in the clubhouse.

Approaching the busy grandstand on the closing hole, Yeung, who was born in Beijing, needed to get up and down for par from a bunker, just short of the green. He splashed out to eight feet and made the putt, much to the delight of the galleries.

“I was pretty happy after I made the final putt, especially because the ball barely made it. That almost gave me a heart attack,” said Yeung, who fell to his knees in relief after the putt dropped.

“The atmosphere was amazing, and lots of fans, so it’s good to feel what it’s like to be in contention again and signing autographs. I’m just really happy.

Yeung finished seventh on the Order of Merit in 2018 and earned status on the Korn Ferry Tour by tying for seventh at the LECOM Suncoast Classic after Monday-qualifying into the event. That performance earned him additional starts. He finished the season with 147 points on the points list and lost his status.

Motin Yeung with the trophy.

Coming into the week, Yeung knew he needed a big week as he looks to get back onto the ‘Path to the PGA Tour’. After missing the cut last week in Haikou, Yeung has moved from no ranking to 19th on the Order of Merit and now has a chance to break into the top 10, starting at the next tournament, the Macau Championship.

No matter what happens, Yeung, inside the top 25, will earn direct entry into the second stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.

“I don’t have much expectation, and I think that helps. I’m just always trying to do my best and play my best,” said Yeung, who turned pro in 2016, after graduating from Duke University with a degree in Public Policy Studies. “The goal was to get into second stage, and I needed to win this week so of course it feels amazing to do it. It feels great to hit my target, and hopefully there are more good things to come.”

Campbell put up a valiant effort on the final day. He was eight-under through 17 holes before a wayward tee shot into the bushes on 18 forced him to take an unplayable-lie penalty. From there he made an impressive up and down, but the bogey still cost him as he watched Yeung finish with three straight pars.

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