China’s Marty Zecheng Dou was kicking himself after letting slip the chance of winning a third Korn Ferry Tour title at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old Dou, who was the third round leader, led by two strokes with three holes remaining in regulation play but made costly bogeys on the 16th and 18th holes which allowed Brandon Harkins to tie him and force a playoff.
Both players traded pars in the first playoff hole before Harkins went on to lift his first Korn Ferry Tour victory with a par in the second extra hole after Dou found the penalty area twice to conclude a disappointing final day in the Bahamas.
“When you get to the point (of winning), two strokes lead with three to play, I’m thinking of just making pars to win it. Losing is a little different definitely. We are talking about going after a win, we’ve already got one hand on the trophy. It’s pretty tough,” said a disappointed Dou, who closed with a 3-under 69 and 18-under 270 total.
The young Chinese talent appeared to be cruising towards the finish line after navigating 15 holes in 5-under. However, he surprisingly stumbled down the stretch in the wind. He hooked a drive into the penalty area on the 16th for his first bogey of the day and then sent a wayward fairway wood approach into the penalty area on the closing hole, a par-5, for another costly dropped shot to squander his chance.
“I was struggling into the wind. A big snap-hook on 16 and then a big slice on 18. When it gets into that (wind), it’s just my golf game. It’s nothing with my mental, it’s nothing with anything else. I’ve got to work at it,” said Dou, who posted his second top-3 finish at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club.
“It’s just one tournament, it’s nothing big. That makes me feel it’s fine as this is only the second week of the year. I’ve feel I’ve got a lot of time after that. I mean I gave it a go, I gave it a good run. Brandon played really good and it was fun playing with him in the last group. A lot of tension and a lot fireworks too.”
His gallant effort extended a good start to the new season for mainland Chinese players as compatriot Carl Yuan had finished tied third in the season-opening event, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, last week. Yuan missed the cut this week.
Dou is in his fourth season as a Korn Ferry Tour member, having graduated to the PGA TOUR as a 20-year-old rookie following the 2017 season; he finished No. 28 and No. 33 in the 2019 and 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points Standings, respectively. There are 50 PGA TOUR cards available through the Regular Season and the Korn Ferry Tour Finals this year.
The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season continues next Thursday, February 3 with the opening round of the Panama Championship.
- Brandon Harkins (1st / -18) graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour following the 2017 season, when he earned his PGA TOUR card via a No. 21 finish in the regular season; he qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs in his debut TOUR season, but fell back to the Korn Ferry Tour after he finished 165th in the 2019 FedExCup Standings
- Zecheng Dou (2nd / -18) posted his second top-three finish at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club, as he was previously solo third at the 2017 playing of the event
- Dou has two runner-up finishes in his last six Korn Ferry Tour starts; he finished T2 at the 2020-21 regular season finale, the 2021 Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna, last August
- Dou is in his fourth season as a Korn Ferry Tour member, having graduated to the PGA TOUR as a 20-year-old rookie following the 2017 season; he finished No. 28 and No. 33 in the 2019 and 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points Standings, respectively
- Seonghyeon Kim (3rd / -16), a 23-year-old native of South Korea, rose to solo third behind the best round of the day, a 6-under 66; he has top-25s in the first two Korn Ferry Tour starts of his career, as he was T19 at last week’s The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay
- Kim finished on the number (T39) for guaranteed starts in the first eight 2022 events at Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament last November; he birdied his 71st hole to move to T39
- Kim boasts international victories from the 2021 Japan PGA Championship on the Japan Golf Tour, as well as the 2020 KPGA Championship, where he became the first player in the history of the Korean Tour to win an event as a Monday Qualifier
- In his 31st Korn Ferry Tour start, Tain Lee (T4 / -13) turned in a career-high finish, which was previously a T30 at the 2015 Chile Classic in his only other season as a Korn Ferry Tour member
- Lee was the 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award at the NCAA Division III level off the strength of winning the individual national title that year
- Playing out of the final group, Erik Barnes (T4 / -13) shot an even-par 72 and posted his first top-25 since a solo second at the 2021 Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS last July. Barnes finished in the top 75 of the regular season standings four of the last five seasons, including a No. 31 finish in 2020-21
- In his 54th Korn Ferry Tour start (and in his third season as a member), Kevin Roy (T4 / -13) posted a career-high finish, trumping a T5 from the 2021 Veritex Bank Championship last April;
- Roy has five career top-10s, two of which have come at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, as he finished T9 in the 2020 The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar
- The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club was the second of 23 regular season events on the 26-event 2022 Korn Ferry Tour schedule; the first set of 25 PGA TOUR cards will be awarded at the regular season finale, the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna (August 11-14), and an additional 25 TOUR cards will be awarded following the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals, which conclude with the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance (September 1-4)
- This week’s purse was $750,000, with $135,000 going to the champion, Brandon Harkins; he also received 500 Korn Ferry Tour points, and an honorary membership at The Abaco Club
- All 2022 Korn Ferry Tour regular season events feature a minimum purse of $750,000, a 25 percent increase from last season, and will boast minimum purses of $1 million in 2023 for a total increase of 66.7 percent from 2021 to 2023
- Weather: Partly cloudy, high of 78 degrees, wind S/SW at 10-15 mph (gusts up to 22 mph)