By Paul Gueorgieff, editor Golfer Pacific
Josh Geary is headed back to the United States.
The Southlander will next year play on the second-richest golf circuit in the United States, the Web.Com Tour, following his top form in China.
Last month Geary posted his third win on the PGA Tour of China when taking out the Yunnan Open at the Yulongwan Golf Club. Previously he had won the Buick Open at Mission Hills in April and the Lanhai Open in Shanghai in June.
The three wins had come from just eight starts on the China PGA Tour and following his in Yunnan he was a clear leader of the tour’s order of merit table.
The top five players on the order of merit get to the join the Web.com Tour but it remains most important that Geary retains the No 1 spot. The order of merit winner gains a full card to the Web.com Tour while the other four receive conditional status cards.
``I would like to finish number one because that means a full card,’’ Geary said after his Yunnan win.
``I’ve been on the tour before and I know how hard it is with conditional status. Nothing is guaranteed and I think you have to play well early (in the season).
``With a full card maybe you will be be a little more relaxed about (having to) playing well early.’’
Geary was hopeful the Web.com Tour would lead to further opportunities.
``It’s a tough tour and I’m looking forward to using this tour as a springboard for next year. It’s been a good step for me between here and the Web.com Tour.’’
The final three events of the China PGA Tour are held in consecutive weeks, concluding with the interestingly-named St Andrews Open at Zhengzhou in the province of Henan. That tournament is held from November 3-6.
He will need to juggle his schedule carefully to ensure he gives himself the best chance of retaining the No 1 sport on the China tour while still playing in Australia and Asia.
Geary’s win in the Yunnan Open was punctuated by two eagles. One was a three on a par five and the other a hole-in-one on the first day which was his first as a professional.
``It’s my first hole-in-one in a competitive event. I’ve had six more but they’ve all been outside professional golf.’’
Geary won the tournament by one shot. He had scores of 66, 65, 64 and 71 to finish at 21 under par and it was his eagle on the the third-last hole that was the deciding factor.
``I hit a great putt,’’ Geary recalled.
``It was really slippery down there (the slope) but I managed to sneak it in.’’
Geary bogeyed the following hole but so did his main rival Gunn Charoenkul of Thailand and they both had pars on the final hole.
Geary admitted his final round was not the best and was thankful Charoenkul was not much better.
``We both played good (on the Saturday) but today we didn’t play very well, so it wasn’t as enjoyable,’’ he said.
But it was good to have a good battle with Gunn. It would have been nicer had we played a little better but it’s just one of those things where someone has to win. It happened to me this time, next time it could be him. He’s a really good player.’’
Geary has played on the equivalent of the Web.com Tour previously. He had a couple of starts in 2008, four starts in 2009 when he included a second placing, a couple of starts in 2010 and 25 starts in 2011. In the latter year he had three top 10 finishes but in the main struggled and Geary said it was not much fun, to put it mildly.
``It was a lonely, depressing and expensive place I found myself in for a few months,’’ he recalled to the Bay of Plenty Times newspaper recently.
``But with sheer hard work and determination I managed to slowly claw myself out of that hole and, basically, bring me back to where I am today.’’