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Aussie

THE CLEARWATER BAY OPEN REVIEW

Rules Following the footsteps of inaugural champion Daniel Nisbet, Lleyton Hewitt lookalike James Marchesani becomes the second successive Australian winner of the PGA TOUR-China’s Clearwater Bay Open, writes Louie Chan.

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as pros, with the Australian snaring an eagle on the par-5 15th and a birdie on the par-5 18th to eventually triumph. “I feel pretty good for a pretty good reason because the trophy’s mine. It’s been a long week but a very good one, and I’m very pleased to notch that first win,” said Marchesani, who tied for second in August’s Fiji International sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. “I’ve had a couple of close looks at other tournaments, but the game was feeling good coming into this week and now I’ve come to the top. It was a good battle on the back, and Callum certainly pushed me to get that win.” Marchesani’s looks have drawn several comparisons to Lleyton Hewitt - he admitted: “I hear that all the time!” - and he showed similar grit to the Australian tennis legend by clawing back four strokes on the back nine. Marchesani, who played four years of college golf at Oklahoma City University, shot two birdies and four bogeys - including three in a row from the No. 5 – on the front nine to lie 2-under, while Tarren made the turn at 6-under. However, the gap closed to two after No. 10 as the Australian sank an 18-foot birdie putt and Tarren triple putted for a bogey. Marchesani then hit his tee shot on the par-3 14th to six feet and made another birdie before drawing level with an eagle on 15, as Tarren birdied.

James Marchesani becomes the second successive Australian winner of the PGA TOURChina’s Clearwater Bay Open HKGOLFER.COM

HKGOLFER.COM

Zhuang Liu/PGA TOUR China

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a rchesani pips E n g l a n d ’s C a l l u m Ta r r e n a f t e r a n engag i ng f i na l- d ay battle at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club in Hong Kong to earn a full card on PGA TOUR-China in 2018. He sank a pressurepacked 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the first title of his pro career in Hong Kong. The Australian, who started the day 4-under as one of three co-leaders, shot a 3-under-par 67 at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club for a 7-under total of 273 and a one-stroke victory over playing partner Callum Tarren (68) of England. Eugene Wong, whose father is from Hong Kong, shot a best-of-the-day 66 to secure third place, at 4-under, the Canadian’s best PGA TOUR-China result since 2015 when he finished fifth on the Order of Merit before playing the 2016 Web.com Tour. Australia’s Chris Wood (67) and New Zealand’s Fraser Wilkin (67) tied for fourth on 3-under, one ahead of Hong Kong No. 1 Jason Hak, a Clearwater Bay ambassador, who shot a 68 to share sixth place with American Joseph Gunerman (69). Marchesani spent much of the day trailing Tarren, and the round became a battle of two 27-year-olds looking for their breakthrough wins

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Well done HK Team - 4 players made the cut!

Marchesani’s looks have drawn several comparisons to Lleyton Hewitt

Taichi with his father Victor once again on his bag

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European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned events in China. “I just have to keep playing. I felt comfortable out there today. I’m feeling comfortable with my game. Winning is hard, isn’t it? Well done to James. He played 5-under on the back nine,” said the big-hitting Tarren, who last year shot a closing 62 at Clearwater Bay. “Obviously, I had a good 2016 PGA TOURChina, and I’ve had a good 2017 on the golf course. I just have to keep playing and see how it goes.” Hak, 23, had weekend rounds of 64-68 in front of his home supporters, including his parents and uncle, and an eagle on 15 was his Sunday highlight. “The eagle on 15th helped a lot. I just hit three good shots and made the hole look really easy,” said Hak, who won his first pro title in August. “I took a lot of good positives moving on from this week, especially the last two rounds. Hopefully I will keep that momentum going.” Hong Kong fans had further reason to celebrate when 16-year-old Taichi Kho finished 7-over (72-72-71-72) to finish as the joint low amateur with 17-year-old Chinese sensation Yuxin Lin, whose victory in the previous week’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship earned him spots in the Masters Tournament and The Open Championship next year. HKGOLFER.COM

Tarren Callum missed the title by one stroke

Jason Hak had weekend rounds of 64-68

Eugene Wong secured third place at 4-under

Zhuang Liu/PGA TOUR China / Daniel Wong

“I knew that I’d played the back nine well all week and that if I kept hitting some good shots, there were birdies out there,” said Marchesani, making his PGA TOUR-China debut. “I made a really good putt on 10 and that got the confidence up again. I probably hit my best drive of the week down 15 and only had a short iron in then had six or seven feet for eagle. Callum made a great putt for birdie there to let me know he was still around.” The pair were all level going to 18, where Tarren pushed his drive right and was unable to reach the green in two. Marchesani finished just left of the green with his second, chipped to six feet and then coolly sank the birdie putt for the RMB270,000 first prize. “The putt felt longer than it looked. It’s always a little bit harder when you know what’s on the line,” Marchesani said. “I was pretty pleased with the chip I hit down the hill to six feet, which became a lot further once I knew what the putt would actually mean. I took a few extra deep breaths, stepped up there, hit it on the line and she went in. It’s always good to know what a putt’s worth.” Marchesani is the event’s second successive Australian winner and said a few tips from inaugural champion Daniel Nisbet may have helped - and he may even follow his compatriot’s lead in playing across two tours after his victory earned him full membership on next year’s PGA TOUR-China. “I played behind Dan in the pro-am, and when we stopped between holes, we went back and forth with a few ideas about where to hit it, where not to hit it. It was good to get a couple of tips. Hopefully I’ll come back next year and defend, or another Aussie might pip me,” Marchesani said. “It’s still pretty early to decide, but PGA TOUR-China plays mid-year, which is the gap for our Australasia Tour, so it should work in pretty well. I can play on both and swing back and forth and play a full schedule for the entire year.” Tarren was disconsolate after his third runner-up finish in PGA TOURChina events. It was also his fifth top-10 in as many weeks, including two in

Taichi Kho finished as the joint low amateur

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