Qinhhuangdao, Hebei, China: Nick Voke beat Stephen Lewton in a play-off to win the Qinhuangdao Championship and become the first New Zealander to win a PGA Tour Series-China title since Josh Geary in 2015.
The 23-year-old Voke, playing in the penultimate group, shot a six-under 66 to set the clubhouse lead at 12-under at Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club before third-round co-leader Lewton birdied the final hole to force a play-off.
Both players parred the par-three 18th on the first extra hole and when they played the hole again, Voke sank a winning 15-foot birdie putt to deny Lewton, who was hoping to become the Tour’s first English winner.
American Charlie Saxon (71), the third-round co-leader with Lewton, was third at nine-under, one ahead of compatriots Yoon Se-jun (67) and Kevin Lee (68), and Australians Max McCardle (69) and James Marchesani (69), last year’s Clearwater Bay Open winner. Chinese duo ‘Carl’ Yuan Yechun (69) and Bowen Xiao (65) shared eighth at seven-under.
The top-five on the money list remained the same, with Saxon followed by England’s Callum Tarren, Korean Todd Baek, American Joseph Winslow and Hong Kong’s Motin Yeung.
Voke, who turned pro in January, was thrilled to get his first win as a professional, in only his second appearance on the Tour, after a tie for fourth at the previous week’s Suzhou Open.
The Auckland resident continued his excellent form in Qinhuangdao, finishing with six birdies in a bogey-free final round, and has already set his sights on next year’s Web.com Tour after the victory propelled him to 13th on the Order of Merit.
“This victory opens up some opportunities for me and it’s pretty exciting to see what doors can open from it,” said Voke, who graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 after a college career featuring five victories.
“If I don’t qualify for the Web.com Tour, I will play here in China. I feel it’s the best pathway to get to the Web.com Tour and hopefully play well enough there to get through that pathway [to the PGA Tour].”