Aussies win as PGA Tour China OOM leader banned

Aussies David McKenzie and Brett Drewitt have seen their chances of qualifying for the 2015 Tour improve following the suspension of the leading money winner on the PGA Tour China, Xin-Jun Zhang, for signing incorrect scorecards.

Zhang is listed as been suspended by the China Golf Association (‘CGA’) from PGA Tour China events for six months.

David McKenzie David McKenzie celebrates his Lanai Open win earlier this year (Credit: PGA Tour China)

With Zhang’s disqualification from the series, McKenzie will have the chance to lead the Order of Merit with Drewitt currently 4th on the money list. Bryden Macpherson also has a chance to be playing the Web.Com Tour next February as he’s currently 6th in the Order of Merit.

The PGA Tour and China Golf Association entered into a partnership to start the PGA Tour China Series this year with the objective to promote the sport in the area and provide a pathway to the PGA Tour.

Zhang leds the newly formed tour with 650,600 yuan (A$123,443), with the top-5 in money earnings at season end to earn exempt status on the 2015 Tour.

McKenzie is 138,248 yuan (A$26,230) behind Zhang and will need a top-3 finish in any one of the three remaining events to pass Zhang.

The CGA released a statement on the 24 October announcing Zang’s six month suspension.

Zhang, 27, won the Beijing Open earlier this year on the PGA Tour China circuit and with his suspension his immediate playing career must be in questioned yet a PGA Tour Official has commented he still maybe eligible to be promoted to the Web.Com Tour.

“Any player, wherever they finish on the money list, it’s separate from a disciplinary process,” said Paul Johnson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of international business affairs. “If they finish fourth, they earn access for being fourth on the money list. It’s independent of discipline.”

“As a Chinese player, he answers to the CGA across all tours.”

Johnson would not say whether Zhang faced additional sanctions from the PGA Tour, but he did confirm the suspension keeps Zhang from competing on any tour. Along with the PGA Tour China, Zhang has played on the European Tour, OneAsia and Japan Golf Tour this year.

Both McKenzie and Drewitt are already winners in the PGA Tour China series with McKenzie a dual winner collecting the Lanai Open back in June and the Cadillac Championship in September, with Drewitt winning the Wuhan Open back in May.

Three events remain in the series with the Tour Championship scheduled for 24 November at the Shenzhen Guangdong CTS Tycoon Golf Club D&Y Course in the Baoan District in China.