BLUFFTON SC (July 11, 2016) Beijing, China native Cheng Jin is the 2016 Players Amateur Champion. He joins an impressive list of past champions including Rickie Fowler and Bill Haas.
The incoming University of Southern California freshman started the final round in the lead but bogied the first three holes giving several others a chance at the win. “I had an awful start. I just tried to calm myself down and stick to my game,” Jin told reporters.
He lost the lead to University of Alabama’s Davis Riley after Riley birdied number 9 and for the next several holes, the lead changed several times with Patrick Martin, Travis Smyth and Harrison Endycott all seeing their names at the top of the leaderboard.
18-year-old Jin regained the lead after he birdied the 16th hole and went to 12 under. His next birdie on number 17 secured his win.
Australian National Team member Endycott shot six under for the day and ended the tournament tied for second place with Vanderbilt’s Patrick Martin. After his round, Endycott told reporters he was disappointed with his second place finish but was happy with the way he played, “I just managed to get the ball in the right places today. There are some really tough pins and I managed really really well to always give myself a scoring opportunity. I was very proud of myself the way I did that today.”
Martin told reporters his game is in the right spot, “I have been playing well all summer. I have been knocking on the door. This week I put myself in position again and each week I continue to feel more comfortable in that spot.”
Jin’s win earns him an exemption into the 2017 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing April 10-16 over the famed Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island. The 18-year-old is looking forward to the new experience, “It will be my first PGA TOUR event besides The Masters, I am really looking forward to it.” He received an exemption into the 2016 Masters after winning the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur.
Contestants in the 17th annual Players Amateur shot a total of 120 birdies. The tournament’s “Two Club” donates 2 dollars for every birdie made. Checks for $9,840 will be distributed to the Berkeley Hall Charitable Foundation, Heritage Classic Foundation and the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation.
Click here for tournament scores: www.playersam.com.