Australian Bryden Macpherson came close to winning the Cadillac Championship in 2014, but it didn’t happen. He wouldn’t be disappointed again. Macpherson, who began the final round trailing by two shots, broke free from a crowded leaderboard midway through his back nine and coasted to a three-shot win over South Korea’s Byungmin Cho on a beautiful sunny day as Chinese people celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday.
Macpherson put the field on notice Friday when he shot a 9-under 63—the low 18 of the season—at Topwin Golf and Country Club. He followed that with rounds of 69-68 to earn his first professional title after a celebrated amateur career in Australia and at the University of Georgia.
“I better not play one more because there is nowhere to go from here,” Macpherson joked about his runner-up finish and his win in his last two Cadillac Championship starts.
Macpherson had an admittedly disappointing Web.com Tour season in 2015. He completed his year in August, finishing 126th on the money list. He immediately returned to China, where he had full Series’ membership and tied for 13th at the Ping An Bank Open two weeks ago. His game came together this week as he caught third-round leader Cho by the third hole Sunday after making consecutive birdies, at Nos. 2 and 3. Macpherson rolled in a four-footer for birdie on No. 2 then chipped in for birdie on his next hole.
“I ended up just on the left-hand side of the green,” Macpherson explained. “I got up there, saw the ball and thought, This is perfect. I chipped in. It was perfect.”
He took the lead momentarily at No. 5, after another birdie, but fell back into a tie with Cho when he bogeyed the seventh hole after his drive left him with “one of the worst lies I’ve ever had in my life.” Macpherson and playing partner Cho matched birdies at No. 8, and they made the turn tied. On the 10th hole, Macpherson moved ahead for good, making a birdie to Cho’s par.
“I feel really good. I played really nicely for 72 holes, said Macpherson, who moved to sixth on the Order of Merit during a bright, sunny day at this tournament played with the Great Wall in view. “Every time I started thinking about winning or my score, I would just look around at the mountains and take it in and just enjoy it.”
When Cho bogeyed the par-5 12th, Macpherson held a two-shot lead, and despite a hiccup bogey at the par-4 14th that reduced his lead to one, Macpherson would take control on No. 15, a hole Macpherson called “the turning point of the tournament.”
On the short, 327-yard par-4, Macpherson and Cho hit their drives into the same greenside bunker. “We both didn’t hit the best bunker shots,” Macpherson said, noting his ball landed 25 feet short, while Cho’s was 25 feet past the pin. “He putted first, and [Cho] actually, I think, thought he had holed it. But it just didn’t turn at the last moment. It made me a little nervous there,” Macpherson said. “I hit a really good putt, one of my best putts of the week. I read it nicely, and it went straight in the center. That was a good birdie for me, stretching my lead to two shots with three holes to play.”
Cho had numerous birdie chances on his front nine Sunday but opened with seven consecutive pars before making his first birdie, at No. 8. He never recovered from his bogey at No. 12—adding one more bogey the rest of the way, with no birdies.
Cho, who won on the Korean Challenge Tour in late-July, was making only his fifth Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series’ start. This was his career-high finish, bettering his tie-for-eighth effort two weeks ago at the Ping An Bank Open.
Tying for third was China’s Zihao Chen and South Korea’s Junghwan Lee. They finished at 12-under, four shots behind Macpherson. China’s Zecheng Dou was fifth.
Macpherson became the third Australian to win Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series’ event, and the win was the fourth title overall by an Aussie. He joins David McKenzie and Brett Drewitt as winners in China. McKenzie won two titles in 2014.
A year ago, on his way to a ninth place Order of Merit finish, Macpherson had six consecutive top-10s to end his season. He didn’t play after the Nine Dragons Open, electing to skip the Series’ final two events on the 2014 schedule. He earned his Web.com Tour playing privileges through the Tour’s Qualifying Tournament in the United States.
Australian Chris Brown became the first player this season to make two eagles in a round when he aced the par-3 sixth hole and then eagled the par-5 eighth. For his round, a 5-under 67, he had a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 on his scorecard Sunday. He tied for 34th.
The hole-in-one by Brown was the fifth of the season and the second overall by an Australian player. Scott Barr had an ace at the 2014 Yulongwan Yunnan Open.
Justin Shin solidified his hold on third place in the Order of Merit and moved closer to both Josh Geary and Eugene Wong. Shin tied for seventh and earned ￥38,700 to pass the ￥300,000 mark in season earnings (￥308,690). Geary tied for 64th, while Wong tied for 48th.
China’s Cheng Jin captured low-amateur honors, finishing at 9-under and tied for seventh.