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Carl Yuan of China catches a golf ball on the 1st tee during a practice round prior to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing and Financing at Victoria National Golf Club on August 31, 2022 in Newburgh, Indiana. Photo: Getty Images

Chinese golfers Carl Yuan and Marty Dou chase No 1 ranking as Korn Ferry Tour season comes to a close

  • Chinese golfers Yuan and Dou are in the hunt for Korn Ferry Tour bragging rights, with a No 1 rank bring the US Open and The Players Championship exemptions
  • Dou, who previously played on the main tour in 2018, said he thought his friendship with Yuan had helped him become a better golfer
PGA Tour

China’s Carl Yuan and Marty Dou are ready to slug it out with current points leader Paul Haley II for the coveted No 1 ranking on the Korn Ferry Tour, as the season-long race comes to a conclusion this week.

While Yuan and Dou have already secured their PGA Tour cards, the top-ranked player after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship will also get exemptions into The Players Championship and the US Open next year.

But just being in the hunt is a “pretty big deal” for Yuan, who slipped out of top spot after last week’s penultimate event of the season-ending tour finals.

Marty Dou plays his shot from the eighth tee during the third round of The Ascendant in Colorado. Photo: Getty Images

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to be No 1, which proves I’ve been doing pretty well,” Yuan said. “That’s what we fight for all year. Being able to have your own schedule for next season.

“It’s crucial you don’t need to go through a reshuffle or wait to be an alternate for tournaments. It’s a big deal if I can do that for my rookie year.”

Dou, who sits just behind Yuan in the ranking in third said while getting to the top was important, it was not a “big goal,” despite the fact no Chinese player has done it before.

Instead, his focus was playing well on the PGA Tour itself, with all the rewards that would bring, including spots at all the majors and The Players Championship.

Dou, who previously played on the main tour in 2018, said he thought his friendship with Yuan had helped him become a better golfer.

“It’s been a great run for us,” he said. “Having someone from the same country is almost like guys going to the same college and playing on the same team like Sam Burns and Scottie Scheffler. When we play well, we play well together.

“I think it’s interesting we’re competing against each other, and to have another player from the same country this year, it feels like it brings more motivation. I think for Carl and it’s vice versa. When we are together, it’s more motivating because you can make some comparisons, I think we want to make progress together.”

Eight players have already crossed the 210-point threshold the Korn Ferry Tour is currently using as its fail-safe number for players to finish inside The Finals 25, leaving 17 PGA Tour cards up for grabs this week.

Yuan is rooting for compatriots Xinjun Zhang and Li Haotong to produce strong finishes, and said it would be “very good to have several Chinese players on the PGA Tour together, and it would be the first time that three players [from mainland China] would have qualified”.