USC’s Cheng Jin wins PGA Tour China Q-School by stunning margin

Cheng Jin dominated the field at the PGA Tour Series-China Mainland China Qualifying Tournament, rolling to a 17-shot victory over 72 holes.

While Jin, 19, entered the final round nine shots ahead, he decided to close with a flourish. A tournament-low 5-under 67 at Wolong Lake Golf Club pushed him to his 12-under 276 total and 17-shot margin. It was a wire-to-wire win that easily secured Jin a card.

Zihong Zhang (75) and Cilin Zhou (73) tied for second at 5 over. The top 15 from the event earned full cards.

“I played great today. I started really well and finished really well,” Jin said. “I made four birdies on the front nine, hung in during the middle of the round and fortunately was able to finish in a great way.”

Jin’s name came to the forefront before he even reached college. As a 16-year-old in 2014, the Chinese player won the PGA Tour Series-China’s Nine Dragons Open to become the circuit’s youngest champion.

The following year he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, earning him a Masters invite for 2016. He won the Players Amateur in the summer of 2016 to earn another PGA Tour start – this time at the 2017 RBC Heritage.

Jin is now a sophomore at USC, where he’s posted five top 25s in his career. He’s currently ranked No. 296 for the 2017-18 college season in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

He has not yet confirmed when he’ll turn pro. But he at the very least has a card on a circuit where the top five players on this year’s Order of Merit will earn status on the Tour.

Regardless of the circumstances, Jin is looking forward to another year on PGA Tour-Series China.

“It’s a great tour. PGA Tour and the China Golf Association put such a great effort into this Tour and getting players to the next big stage,” Jin said. “I played this Tour in 2014 and 2015, and had a lot of great memories out here, so I’m looking forward to a great new season.”


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