Saxon Snags 3rd Win of 2018 in China

Saxon carded a 68 to finish at 10-under and two ahead of Japan’s Taihei Sato at the Hunan Dragon Lake International Golf Club, where officials suspended play twice Sunday afternoon due to severe thunderstorms. That forced 24 players to complete their rounds Monday.

Saxon was 9-under when he resumed on the 15th fairway at 7:15 a.m. on Monday, while Sato, playing in the group behind — the last grouping of the day — started at the 14th, two shots behind the leader.

Saxon won two titles in 2016 on his way to finishing second on the Order of Merit. The 25-year-old made sure lifting his third trophy became a reality by making three pars and finishing with a birdie on the par-5 18th, a hole Sato also birdied to post a closing 70.

“It was really kind of a dream finish. It was what I wanted to do when I went to bed last night, so I was happy to be able to do it,” said Saxon, whose 2016 Order of Merit finish earned him a place on the 2017 Web.com Tour.

“Those final holes are not easy at all. They’re playing straight in the wind and there’s disaster to be had on all of them. However, I didn’t really miss a shot coming down the stretch, played really solid holes, gave myself birdie looks, tapped in for par and then birdied the last so was really happy with that.”

Along with many of his fellow competitors, Saxon then headed to the airport to fly to tropical Hainan Island for this week’s Haikou Championship, the fourth event on the schedule.

“I’ll stay away from the golf course for a couple of days and play the pro-am Wednesday,” Saxon said. “I’m looking forward to the week. I heard it’s a good course and a good hotel, so it should be fun.”

 Sato, 24, was disappointed not to catch Saxon but remained positive after an impressive performance in Hunan.

“It was a good week for me,” he said. “I’m playing very well, and I’m very happy.”

American Kurt Kitayama (75), who played with Sato in the last group, restarted in third place at 5-under and bagged a birdie at 14 before closing with two bogeys, retaining third place at 4-under.

Chinese Taipei’s Chiehpo “Max” Lee (77), co-leader with Kitayama after the third round, also birdied 14 and finished fourth at 2-under, one ahead of Japan’s Yuwa Kosaihira (71).

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FINAL LEADERBOARD

POS. NAME SCORES
1 Charlie Saxon (U.S.) 70-68-72-68 — 278 (-10)
2 Taihei Sato (Japan) 69-72-69-70 — 280 (-8)
3 Kurt Kitayama (U.S.) 69-65-75-75 — 284 (-4)
4 Chiehpo Lee (Chinese Taipei) 69-70-70-77 — 286 (-2)
5 Yuwa Kosaihira (Japan) 72-74-70-71 — 287 (-1)

Note: Originally posted on the PGA Tour China website.