Amateur Zhou Ziqin outduels pro field to win in China
Zhou Ziqin stunned a field of top Chinese professionals on Saturday as the 16-year-old amateur claimed the men’s edition of the CGA Championship with a one-stroke victory in Fujian province.
A week after rookie pro Zeng Liqi won the CGA Ladies Championship at Orient (Xiamen) Golf and Country Club, Zhou won the RMB800,000 championship on the same course when he closed with a two-under 69 for a 72-hole score of 14-under 270 in the penultimate event of the China Tour season.
Jing Zeyu was awarded the RMB144,000 winner’s purse as runner-up when he finished with a seven-under 64 to tie the tournament-low round at the Ronald Fream/Golf Plan-designed seaside course. Chen Zihao (65) was third at two strokes back.
After starting the day tied for the lead with She Zihan (72) two strokes ahead of the pack, Zhou, 391st in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, carded a birdie three at the 475-yard second hole to take the outright lead and never looked back. His round included two more birdies and a lone bogey five at the 420-yard sixth hole as the Shenzhen teenager picked up his third win in the past two years.
“This is my first championship against a pro field, which must be a turning point in my life. This is also my first win this year. Tomorrow, I will go to Hainan for training. This championship is a successful conclusion to my 2022 season,” said Zhou who had a hole-in-one yesterday at the 178-yard eighth hole for the eighth ace of his young life.
“I am very happy, but the whole day was not an easy process. On the sixth hole my drive was OB, then I got a bogey which was a very critical moment for me. Yesterday, my coach told me to keep a good mindset and that it’s not terrible to make mistakes. All I have to do is accept it and re-create more opportunities for myself. Some birdie opportunities were left behind. This is a pity, but my overall performance is still very stable.”
With the winner of the China Tour Order of Merit to be determined at next week’s Chongqing Open, Jing moved up to third on the money list and within striking distance of leader Ma Chenyao (72). The Shanxi native’s scorching final round featured an eagle three at the 575-yard fifth hole, five birdies, including three consecutively from the 15th hole, and a lone bogey at the 428-yard 14th.
“I played very smoothly today. I missed some short putts a few days ago due to poor putting but today I got a lot of long putts. Golf is really a very fair sport,” said the 22-year-old Jing who turned pro in 2020.
“At the 18th hole, I almost made birdie with a 20-yard chip. This hole was unforgettable for me as it was in front of a large audience. I saw the leaderboard and knew I needed a birdie to potentially force a playoff. In any case, it was a great and unforgettable experience.
“I had two eagles this week as my ball striking has been very good recently. I look forward to next week in Chongqing.”