Almost a year and a half after his first Web.com Tour Win, Zecheng “Marty” Dou took home another title in style by draining a 55-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to erase any doubt. The putt gave Dou a two-stroke win in the first event of the year at 18-under at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
“It feels great to win the first event,” said Dou, who took home U.S. $108,000 with the victory. “I’ve won before at the end of the season, which feels similar, but being out here and winning in a different way. …In that one (at the KC Golf Classic), I was leading the whole time. In this one, I was leading and then struggled a bit and had to come back from behind at the end.”
During a perfect weather day in the final round, Dou tallied five total birdies—including the final three holes—to reach 27 for the tournament, edging Steve LeBrun for the most over the four days.
“I had dinner with Boo Weekley last night and he was talking about the differences in this course compared to a lot that we play,” Dou said. “I really like it out here because you can’t take everything with driver. It’s pretty tight and a little shorter, but the wind picks up really easily. We have to think about it a lot more than other courses.”
Since graduating from the Web.com Tour in 2017, Dou admitted to losing an edge mentally on the PGA TOUR last year.
“Since junior events, I’ve always been at the top of the leaderboard and got a lot of offers from college,” he said. “All of this confidence felt like even if I didn’t practice I could still be a good player. From being back on PGA TOUR Series China and winning the Order of Merit and getting my card in my first year on the Web.com Tour, I thought I was good. After losing my [PGA TOUR] card I lost myself. I got to the point where I wondered if golf was for me anymore.”
While Dou referenced winning at many levels of golf through the years, this was an emphatic first—to come from behind with three closing birdies and the long putt at the 18th to slam the door on a potential playoff.
The win earned Dou 500 points and an early lead atop The 25, giving him a big start in his attempt to return to the PGA TOUR.
“Winning by one or two strokes, in that kind of way, was definitely the first time for me,” said Dou. “[The birdie on 16] was a gamechanger. I pulled it a little bit and I thought I might have hit it in the hazard and was done for the tournament. After getting there, it looked really good and it brought my confidence back. It was the most important shot of the day for me. Hitting that fairway and having 59 yards to the pin was huge.”
Dou edged Ben Kohles and the 40-year-old LeBrun, who both ended two strokes back at 16-under. Kohles carded the round of the day to get into contention at 8-under 64. A quartet of players finished T4 at 15-under: Willy Wilcox, Rob Oppenheim, Steven Alker and John Oda.