BEIJING, China—It took a while, but Canada’s Peter Campbell can now call himself a Tour winner. Campbell shot a closing 70 to hold off China’s Huilin Zhang and win his first pro title at the Beijing Championship, the ninth event of this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China. Campbell, 35, is the third Canadian to win on Tour, following 2015 winners Justin Shin and Eugene Wong.
The left-hander held a two-stroke lead after the second and third rounds at Topwin Golf & Country Club, and finished at 17-under, just one ahead of playing partner Zhang, who was two strokes better that Campbell on Sunday but not quite good enough.
Campbell, who has also played on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, had even considered withdrawing ahead of the Beijing Championship after missing the cut in the previous two events. But with a “no-care attitude” at Topwin, that ultimately helped him cope with the pressure of leading.
“It worked. I don’t know how I did it. I mean, nothing really phased me out there. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before, so definitely something to think about going forward,” said Campbell, who was previously in position to win earlier this season, tied for second, after 54 holes of the Chongqing Championship in March. A Sunday 74 left him tied 14th, still his best result in the first eight events.
His resume changed Sunday.
“It’s just awesome. This just came out of nowhere, and I was able to put some good swings together. It was a tough day, we had a good group, we all battled out there and luckily I was able to come away with it.”
Campbell opened his day with a birdie, bogeyed the fifth and birdied the eighth to make the turn one ahead of Zhang, who birdied Nos. 4, 7 and 8 as hot, humid temperatures descended on China’s capital city.
Campbell birdied 12 and 13 to stay one ahead of Zhang, who started the back nine with a bogey and three birdies. The Florida-based Canadian doubled his lead on 14 when he sunk a tricky putt for par, and Zhang missed a shorter par putt.
However, Campbell’s lead was back to one after he three-putted for bogey on the par-3 16th, but two closing pars were enough for the win, with Zhang’s birdie putt on 17 that would have tied things with a hole to play lipping out.
“We were trading shots out there, it was fun,” said Campbell, who spends summers with his family in his native Nova Scotia. “We hit some really good shots, and we holed some good putts. Luckily, I was able to stay ahead for most of the day.”
Zhang, a two-time Tour winner, produced his best performance of the season—a tie for 11th at the Changsha Championship in May his highest finish until his return to Topwin.
With one last gasp, on the par-5 closing hole, Zhang missed the green with his 5-wood second shot and was unable to get close enough with his chip to give himself a strong birdie chance. Even with that disappointed, he was still satisfied with his week.
“My swing and putting were great this week. I was very focused on my game, and this is my best result in the past two years,” said Zhang, who just missed playing on last year’s Web.com Tour after finishing sixth on the 2016 Order of Merit.
“This was a great round, and I became more confident as the day went on. I hope I can play well in the remaining five events and I’ll try to finish in the top five to get onto the Web.com Tour.”
Korean Woojin Jung finished third, at 15-under, one ahead of American Ryann Ree. South Korea’s Todd Baek, winner of May’s Haikou Championship, shared fifth at 13-under, with American Sejun Yoon.
The Tour will resume next month with the Suzhou Open at Jinji Lake Golf Club from August 30-September 2 and the Qinhuangdao Championship at Qinhuangdao Poly Golf Club from September 6-9.