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THE INTERNATIONAL PGA TOURS

PGA TOUR Series-China By Laury Livsey David Kocher arrived in China for the 2019 PGA TOUR Series-China season with only conditional status. That meant the New Jersey native had no guarantee he would play in tournaments, which forced Kocher to Monday-qualify into the seasonopening Chongqing Championship because too many other players were ahead of him on the exempt list. No matter. Kocher “Mondayed” into that tournament and eventually finished third. That allowed him to play in the next week’s event and Kocher was on his way. He then won the Haikou Championship in only his third Tour start, making him fully exempt for the remainder of the year. Suddenly, he went from limited playing opportunities to the top of the Order of Merit. Not only did the win give Kocher a place to play for the rest of the season, he could begin realistically thinking about his next-year plans. The top-five money-winners from 2019 on PGA TOUR Series-China will automatically earn membership on the 2020 Web.com Tour.

“My goal for this year was just to finish in the top 25 (on the Order of Merit) and get to second stage (of the Web.com Tour Final Qualifying Tournament),” he said after his win. “I can set some new goals now as I’m really happy with where my game is. I’ve been playing well this whole year, so this is definitely a big confidence boost.” For fellow American Trevor Sluman, winner of the Sanya Championship, his breakthrough victory was equally as satisfying for different reasons. In 2018, after contending several times only to come up short, Sluman was finally able to move into the win column. Taihei Sato’s Chongqing Championship win was notable, as he became the first Japanese player to win a Series event. While it was not Sato’s first as a professional, he was willing to admit his playoff triumph over China’s Yanwei Liu was particularly satisfying. “This might be my best win considering so many good players were in the field,” he said. In China’s capital in mid-May, Canada’s Richard Jung, a year removed from his win at the Suzhou Open, cruised to his second Series title, at the Beijing Championship. In the process he became the 12th player with multiple victories on the Tour, setting the stage for big things to come over the next 10 tournaments, culminated at the season-ending Clearwater Bay Open in Hong Kong.

American Trevor Sluman had a breakthrough victory at the Sanya Championship.

Taihei Sato became the first Japanese player to win a series event, with his Chongqing Championship win.

Remembering Arie Irawan

IMAGES: GETTY IMAGES; PGA TOUR

Arie Irawan missed the cut at the Sanya Championship in April but stayed in the seaside city to prepare for the next week’s tournament in Haikou. He went to bed Saturday night and never awoke, dying in his sleep of natural causes. He was 28. Irawan’s death left everybody associated with PGA TOUR Series-China shocked, and the tournament elected to cancel the final round out of respect for Irawan. The Malaysian golfer was in his second season playing in China and was a popular player among fellow golfers and staff. — Laury Livsey

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Only 28, Arie Irawan died of natural causes in April.

PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2019, Part 2

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Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf: June - November 2019  

In this issue of the Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf, Rory McIlroy emerges from THE PLAYERS Championship with an important title....

Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf: June - November 2019  

In this issue of the Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf, Rory McIlroy emerges from THE PLAYERS Championship with an important title....