Leader of the pack: PGA Tour China Series revelation Dou Zecheng targets Clearwater Bay Open title
Circuit makes its first stop outside of the mainland at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club from November 3-6, with Hong Kong’s in-form 22-year-old Jason Hak Shun-yat also in the field
Order of merit leader Dou Zecheng has set his sights on ruining Jason Hak Shun-yat’s homecoming party at November’s inaugural Clearwater Bay Open as the Ping An Bank China Tour-PGA Tour China Series makes a historic first stop in Hong Kong.
Dou won four of the first seven events on this year’s calender and comfortably tops the money list after becoming the first player to win Ұ1 million (HK$1.16m)in a single season on the circuit.
Those results have lifted the 19-year-old up to 179th in the world rankings and Dou is currently China’s number three just behind Li Haotong and Wu Ashun, who both featured at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
And following a well-earned break following a fifth place finish at the Pingan Bank Open in Beijing earlier this month, Dou will return to action at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club eyeing not only overtaking Li and Wu but also tightening his grip on the order of merit with the winner guaranteed a full card on the PGA Tour’s second-tier circuit, the Web.com Tour, next season.
“It’s the first PGA Tour China Series event outside of the mainland and my goal is to win the championship,” said Dou, who has won Ұ1.07m this season to lead American Pingan Bank Open winner Charlie Saxon by over Ұ500,000.
But since winning the Yunnan Open at the start of September, Dou has finished behind Hong Kong’s Jason Hak at the last two stops on the circuit to boost hopes of a home success at the Ұ1.2m Clearwater Bay Open, which will be held from November 3-6.
Hak has rediscovered his form and, while missing out on a first professional win, has posted three consecutive top 10 finishes this month to move up to 14th place on the order of merit.
The 22-year-old still retains a locker at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, where he represented the city at the 2011 Putra Cup, although Dou is hoping to boost his knowledge of the par 70 layout.
“I haven’t played Clearwater Bay before, but I know Jin Cheng won the Asia-Pacific Amateur there last year,” added Dou after his compatriot set a course record of eight-under-par 62 on his way to winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October.
“It looks so beautiful and it’s right beside the sea, so I’m sure to enjoy playing the course anyway. It’s not that often that I get to play at a golf course this nice.”
Watch: A bird’s-eye view of the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club