DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)Oklahoma State sophomore Bo Jin took a big step toward following in his brother’s footsteps by making five birdies over his last eight holes on Thursday for a 7-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Jin, a 19-year-old from Beijing, led at the halfway point by one shot over five players, including top-ranked amateur Keita Nakajima of Japan.
Defending champion Yuxin Lin of China was right in the mix until a double bogey on the closing hole at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. He was four shots behind in his bid to become the first three-time winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur since it began in 2009.
Jin is well-connected to the tournament and the golf course. His older brother, Cheng Jin, won the Asia-Pacific Amateur in 2015 when it was held in Hong Kong. He also is close friends with Oklahoma State junior Rayhan Thomas, who shot a 61 at Dubai Creek when he won a MENA Tour event at age 16.
”I have learned a lot from Cheng, but when we get to the golf course, I definitely want to beat him,” Jin said. ”When he won the championship, I was so excited because it meant that I could go to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club along with him.”
The winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur earns an invitation to the Masters in April and the British Open in July.
”Obviously, he hasn’t told me much about this golf course, but I get plenty of good insight into life and golf from him and yes, I want to win the championship like he did,” Jin said.
Jin was at 8-under 134 with 36 holes remaining and plenty of traffic to navigate.
Nakajima, who already has won a Japan Golf Tour event this year, kept a clean card but managed only three birdies for a 68.
Also at 7-under 135 were Baekjun Kim (66), Sam Choi (68) and Wooyoung Cho (68) of South Korea, along with Connor McKinney (65) of Australia.
Fifty players made the 36-hole cut at 2-over 144.
As much as Jin tries to learn from his older brother, his teammate at Oklahoma State is proving valuable to him this week. Thomas was born and raised in Dubai.
”We sat down before coming here, and he gave me a lot of good advice, like how grainy the greens become and how to putt on them,” Jin said. ”And how the course is rather short and why I should practice my wedges more than my long irons, and things like that.
”It definitely played a role in my round today.”
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