China’s Carl Yuan produced a career best solo fourth finish at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship on Sunday to move right on the bubble to retain his PGA TOUR card for next season, with one tournament remaining in FedExCup Fall.
On a day Colombia’s Camilo Villegas ended a nine-year drought to claim his first career PGA TOUR title by two shots, the 26-year-old Yuan closed his week with a gutsy 5-under 66 to earn 135 FedExCup points and rise from 134th to 125th position, which is the cut-off for players to keep their cards for 2024.
With his funky follow-through action, Yuan fought gallantly throughout the week despite not producing his best golf, hitting only five fairways and 11 greens in regulation during the final round at Port Royal Golf Course. However, he scrambled beautifully as he hit seven birdies against an opening bogey to finish four strokes behind Villegas.
“I’m very satisfied. I kept enough patience. Actually, I didn’t do well on my swing and putting, but I kept my faith. I have the belief I can make it. Golf is hard and the only thing I needed to do was to focus on each shot. I did well in trusting myself over last three rounds,” said Yuan, who bettered his previous career best of tied sixth at the Sanderson Farms Championship last month.
After opening with a lacklustre 70 on Thursday, Yuan said he was in a “dark place” but exchanging text messages with his wife Cathy brought some spark back into his game. Despite not swinging his best, he ensured he stayed committed to every shot.
“I was very frustrated. My wife texted me and I did not even feel like talking to her, which is bad. There were so many mistakes I made mentally or just stuff like made me really frustrated and putted poorly,” said Yuan. “She’s always very supportive. She knows how hard the job is and it can spiral real quick sometimes. She always tells me she loves me no matter what and I just come out here and try to get my job done.
“Felt like I was in a pretty dark place (after the first round) but before the second round, it’s like might as well see what I’ve got in me. I text my wife and said I’m going to do it even if it doesn’t feel good, the game doesn’t feel good. I had a strong enough belief. I think I did a great job executing that today. Did not get mad, angry or frustrated over any bad swing, bad shots and I really did a good job just staying shot by shot, hole by hole. Yeah, I was very proud of what I did today.”
With the 2022-23 Season winding up with the RSM Classic this week, Yuan, who graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour last season, knows he must remain patient to stays inside the top 125 which will make him eligible for every Full Field event next year including the TOUR’s flagship tournament, THE PLAYERS Championship.
“I did well this week to put myself in good position for the final push at Sea Island (RSM Classic). I think I’ve just got to keep doing the same thing, not really let that thought get in my way, just keep doing what I do over shots. I think just being patient. I mean, really trust ourself. When I step up, I’ve got to make sure I’m 100 percent trusting myself. In past experience definitely I lacked that and I made a pretty big commitment after my first round actually, I really did well last three days.”
Compatriot Marty Zecheng Dou finished tied 65th on Sunday to drop from 127th to 132nd on the FedExCup Fall standings while Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan, who missed the halfway cut, dropped from 125th to 129th position. Rookie Kevin Yu of Chinese Taipei, who started the week in 115th position, finished T30 and rose to 112th while Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira finished T13 to move up to 151st place.
Final-Round Notes – Sunday, November 12, 2023
Weather: Cloudy and breezy. High of 73. Wind E 15-20 mph, gusting to 25 mph.
|1||Camilo Villegas||67||63||65||65||260 (-24)|
|2||Alex Noren||61||66||67||68||262 (-22)|
|3||Matti Schmid||64||67||65||67||263 (-21)|
|4||Carl Yuan||70||63||65||66||264 (-20)|
|T5||Adam Scott||65||67||66||67||265 (-19)|
|T5||Ryan Moore||65||64||67||69||265 (-19)|