OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Dou Zecheng had a career-changing 36-hole run Sunday in the rain-delayed Digital Ally Open to become the first Chinese player to earn a PGA Tour card and win a Web.com Tour event.
The 20-year-old Dou was 15 under in the final two rounds in the rain-delayed tournament at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate, shooting a 10-under 61 in the morning and adding a 66 in the afternoon for a three-stroke victory.
“It’s a big honor to represent China and come play in the United States,” said Dou, known as Marty. “Playing and learning from the best, competing and earning my tour card, it feels amazing right now. …
“I was talking to my team and I didn’t know if I needed to keep practicing or get more experience on the Web.com Tour instead of trying to get to the PGA Tour so fast. I never thought I could win this year.”
Dou earned $117,000 to jump from 53rd to 15th on the money list with $185,594, more than enough to wrap up a PGA Tour card with only four events left in the race for 25 spots.
“It’s going to be pretty big,” said Dou, who travels with fellow Chinese player Zhang XinJun. “We’ve been talking to the Chinese media this year about a Chinese player potentially getting to the PGA Tour. ‘How soon will they get their card?’ and I just did it here. It just happened. …”
Dou won four times last year on the PGA Tour China and topped the money list to earn a Web.com Tour card.
“That was everything,” Dou said. “As an amateur, I was playing on PGA Tour China in a couple of events. Just trying to grow my confidence and work on my skills while learning. Then, the second year, when I turned pro, I finished fourth on the money list and came to Q-school and didn’t play well enough to make it. And the third year I played in China and won. It was a breakthrough for me.”
The third-round 61 was the best of his career. He hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation and had only 23 putts.
“The 61 beat my low-record by two shots,” Dou said. “It was amazing. I did everything perfect. I don’t know what to say. I feel like my game is in pretty good shape.”
At age 20 years, 6 months, 8 days, Dou is the third-youngest winner in the history of the tour.