Flawless Shin’s Macanese Victory March

Justin Shin led from wire-to-wire in Macau. Picture by PGA Tour Series-China/Zhuang Liu.

Macau, China: Canadian Justin Shin won his second career PGA Tour Series-China title in wire-to-wire fashion and leapt 56 spots on the Order of Merit into 11th after banking the RMB378,000 winner’s cheque at the season-ending Macau Championship.

Starting the day six strokes clear of China’s Dou Zecheng after opening rounds of 63-62-66, Shin continued his flawless play with a bogey-free three-under 68. He finished at 25-under for a three-stroke victory at Caesars Golf Macau.

American Max McGreevy tied for 41st, which was still more than enough to secure Player of the Year Honours over compatriot Trevor Sluman, who missed the cut this week. McGreevy, who had nine top-10s and a victory this season, will have full playing rights for the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour season.

American David Kocher finished third on the money list, while France’s Cyril Bouniol and South Korean Luke Kwon placed fourth and fifth to also secure Korn Ferry Tour membership.

Dou, who won the 2016 Order of Merit and is a member of the Korn Ferry Tour, came within three strokes of Shin after 12 holes but failed to close the large gap despite shooting a 65 to take solo second.

Canada’s Richard Jung shot a 67 to secure third spot at 19-under, two shots ahead of Bouniol. Kwon tied for fifth, at 16-under, along with Thai Suteepat Prateeptienchai, American Shotaro Ban and Australian Aaron Wilkin.

Shin was flawless all week, carding 24 birdies and two eagles against only three bogeys to win his first title on the Tour since the United Investment Real Estate Open in 2015.

“I really wanted to have a second win in China. My last one was in 2015, and I wanted to win so badly right away but it didn’t happen until now,” said Shin. “I’m really glad I did, and I hope to get more wins out there now.”

Shin, who played a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017, had been struggling with his game in China. He came into this week ranked 67th on the Order of Merit and in danger of losing his Tour card for next season. However, a putter change last month followed by two good results on the Korean Tour helped Shin regain his confidence.

He remained calm in the final round in Macau, despite feeling pressure all day from playing partner Dou. “I knew I needed to keep playing aggressive because I knew Dou could make a lot of birdies, and he did. On the first nine he was three-under, and he was catching,” said Shin.

“I was struggling to make birdies and felt a lot of pressure because I knew that Dou could do a lot of crazy things. Luckily, I made a long putt on 12, which helped me make it through.”

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