Four former Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship competitors earned a milestone achievement on Sunday: their first PGA Tour cards.
By virtue of finishing in the top 25 in the Korn Ferry Tour’s season-long standings, China’s Yechun (Carl) Yuan, Korea’s Seonghyeon Kim, Chinese Taipei’s Chun An (Kevin) Yu and Australia’s Harrison Endycott each will be rookies on the PGA Tour for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Additionally, China’s Zecheng (Marty) Dou earned a return to the PGA Tour after first breaking through in 2017. Including Dou, five former AAC participants are headed to the PGA Tour next season where they will join a number of past AAC participants already at the highest level.
Yuan, 25, finished No. 1 in the standings and is in strong position to earn full exempt status on Tour next season if he can retain his top spot through the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs. Yuan, a University of Washington alum originally from Dalian, China, joins Dou and Xinjun Zhang as the only mainland China golfers in history to earn a Tour card. Yuan represented China in last summer’s Olympic Men’s Golf Competition and finished T-3 (2017), ninth (2016) and T-20 (2014) in three AAC appearances.
“It’s going to be a new experience,” Yuan said about graduating to the PGA TOUR. “New courses, new challenges…maybe pair up with some big names, learn from them. Everybody has contributed a lot, including my coach, wife, caddie, parents, friends. Everybody surrounding me, making me who I am. A big thank-you to all of them that make me where I am now.”
Kim, 23, finished 12th in the standings after three top-three finishes this season. The Korean is now based out of Dallas and counts eight-time PGA Tour winner K.J. Choi as a mentor. Kim competed at the 2017 AAC at Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand.
“When I first came here to compete on the Korn Ferry Tour, I promised myself I wanted to be consistent, and that consistency really paid off,” Kim said. “I think everything came down as planned. I’m surprised it all came quickly, but I know I worked hard on and off the course to be where I am.”
Yu, who turned 23 this week, finished No. 20 in the standings in his first full season as a professional after turning pro last summer following an All-American career at Arizona State University highlighted by the second-lowest scoring average in program history (behind Jon Rahm). He joins C.T. Pan as the only two players from Chinese Taipei to earn a PGA Tour card through the Korn Ferry Tour. Yu competed at six AACs from 2014-19 with four top-10s during that span.
“It’s amazing, it’s a dream come true to me,” said Yu after earning his PGA TOUR card. “I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was five years old and since I just started to play golf. Now it’s a dream come true and I’m looking forward to next season.”
Endycott, 26, finished No. 21 in the standings and will join a number of Australian brethren on Tour next season. The native of Sydney, Australia, earned his first win at the Huntsville Championship and breaks through to the PGA Tour after five years as a professional. Endycott competed at the AAC in 2016 and 2017 with a high finish of T-10 in 2017.
“It’s incredible. This was an amazing tournament with an amazing atmosphere. To have my dad and girlfriend here this week on a tough golf course, it was great,” Endycott said. “To be Tour bound is an incredible feeling. We’ll be having some champagne to celebrate. It feels incredible and I have so many people that have worked so hard and sacrificed so much for me.”
Though not his first trip to the PGA Tour, Dou’s return is sweeter after being relegated to the Korn Ferry Tour since the 2017-18 season. Dou turned pro in 2014 as a 17-year-old after two consecutive top-five finishes at the AAC in 2013 and 2014. He also finished T-18 in 2012.
The newest PGA Tour members will join a number of past AAC participants who have reached the PGA Tour, including eventual major champions Hideki Matsuyama and Cameron Smith and Tour winners C.T. Pan, Cameron Davis, Lucas Herbert, Si Woo Kim, Satoshi Kodaira and Kyoung-Hoon Lee.