It’s the scene of his first title triumph and Victorian Bryden Macpherson believes his game is in a place where he can once again contend in this week’s Beijing Championship at Topwin Golf and Country Club.
All told there will be 11 Australasian players in the field in Beijing in the final PGA Tour-China event until the Suzhou Championship in late August.
Macpherson’s maiden win as a professional at Topwin in 2015 helped to propel him to the China Tour’s Order of Merit and Player of the Year honours but has this year split his time between China, the European Challenge Tour and his home base of Jupiter, Florida in the United States.
Currently 44th on the Order of Merit, Macpherson has recorded top-15 finishes in the past three events on the PGA Tour-China schedule and believes the depth of talent now playing in China is making for a much more competitive leaderboard.
“The game is right there, but the difference is that when I used to play here in 2014 and 2015, I would have finished top five,” Macpherson told PGA Tour media.
“Now, the standard’s gone up a little bit, and I’m finishing top 15.
“I think I’m playing well, but there are a lot of good players here now.
“I still feel that if I play nice, tidy, quality golf with a little bit of luck, I can still win.
“Haikou was the first time I missed the cut in China, but I wasn’t playing that bad. It was just down to two bad holes.
“In Kunming, I was one shot off the lead with four holes to play but didn’t finish it off.
“I played well in Yantai and last week in Qingdao and felt I had a chance to win.”
Having played two full seasons on the Web.com Tour in 2015 and 2016, Macpherson had limited status in 2017 and has this year played three Challenge Tour events in Europe, his best finish a tie for 20th at the Swiss Challenge in June.
The only professional wins of the 27-year-old’s career came in that 2015 season in China and he hopes some familiar surroundings will elicit those old winning feelings once again.
“I have great memories of Topwin as this was my first professional win,” said Macpherson, who was forced to practice in the rain on Tuesday.
“It was the first time I was in contention and able to really play well on Sunday.
“It was a big step forward for me but it was so long ago that I’ve almost forgotten how to do it.
“The course suits me and fits my eye and my game. I think it’s a great course as it’s got a bit of everything—some long holes, some forced lay-up holes, nice par-3s like No. 6, plus the topography’s interesting and there are some nice flat holes, as well.
“It tests every part of your game.”
Despite his unpredictable schedule over the past two years Macpherson maintains great confidence in his game.
His understanding of what he needs to do to play well continues to grow to the point where his self-belief points to an upswing in his prospects just around the corner.
“You get to a point where you feel like it’s perfectly OK to be yourself, whatever that means for you,” Macpherson recently told the ‘Inside The Ropes’ podcast.
“That’s normally when you become successful because ironically you stand out simply by being yourself.
“When it comes to golf, realising it’s OK to play within your identity is a really powerful thing.
“Me personally, I feel like I’m either at or really approaching that point where I’ve figured out how I do stuff. I’m getting a really good understanding of that.”
With just three confirmed tournaments left on the PGA Tour-China schedule following this week’s Beijing Championship Order of Merit positions become even more critical to those chasing one of five Web.com Tour cards for 2019.
In 13th position, Max McCardle is currently the best placed Australian with Deyen Lawson in 20th spot from just four events.
New Zealander Luke Toomey needs a big week in Beijing to improve on his position of 34th on the Order of Merit as do Kevin Yuan (59th), David Lutterus (62nd), Corey Hale (64th) and Peter Martin (77th).
The Japan Tour this week utilizes a matchplay format for the ISPS Solder Match Play Championship at the spectacular Hatoyama Country Club where six Australasian players will take part.
Won Joon Lee has been drawn to play Rahil Gangjee in the first round, recent winner Brad Kennedy faces off against Nobuhiro Masuda, Matthew Griffin has been drawn to play Jun-Won Park, Anthony Quayle plays Shigeru Nonaka, Kiwi Michael Hendry meets Ippei Koike and David Bransdon is up against Poom Saksansin.
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