Marty Dou Sets Scoring Record at The Ascendant Presented by Blue

Photograph by Jon Rizzi

Chinese standout fires a 17-under to claim title and reclaim PGA Tour card

by Jon Rizzi

Five years ago, Zecheng Dou—known in golf circles as “Marty” Dou—became the first Chinese player to earn a PGA TOUR card and an event on the Korn Ferry (née Tour.

Dou lost his card after the 2018 season, but on Sunday, July 3, he regained it with a record-setting performance in The Ascendant presented by Blue at TPC Colorado.

Dou entered the final round tied for the lead with Ryan McCormick and Dawson Armstrong at 12-under par. A 25-year-old native of Henan province who now lives in Dallas, he sank six birdies—including four on the back nine—en route to 67, setting a 17-under-par tournament scoring record and earning enough points to vault him onto the PGA TOUR next season.

“The first year I got there, I kind of felt that I wasn’t ready,” Dou said. “But it’s been three years now from that time, and I do feel like all parts of my game are set for the big tour.”

He needed all parts working to separate himself from the rest of the field.

Dou held off a charge from countryman Carl Yuan, who birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine. At one point late in the round, Dou, Yuan, Argentina’s Augusto Nuñez and former CU golfer Jeremy Paul were tied at 16-under. Paul, however stubbed a wedge from the fringe on the par-3 16th, leading to a bogey, Nuñez bogeyed 17 and 18 and Yuan—playing in the group ahead of Dou—left his par putt on 18 agonizingly short.

Yuan’s bogey and Dou’s clutch birdie on 16 gave Dou a two-shot lead heading into the 526-yard par-4 18th. His tee shot found the fairway bunker, but the two shot cushion allowed him to two-putt for bogey, victory and a celebratory bottled-water bath from Yuan, whom he has known since the two were 7 or 8 years old in China.

Marty Dou with fans
Champion Marty Dou signs hats, balls and more for grateful fans. (Photograph by Jo Anne Grant Harada Rizzi)

During his emotional victory speech, Dou said he appreciated the support of his girlfriend Muyu, whom he didn’t see during 2020 and most of 2021 because she was quarantined in China. “Having her here was great, because traveling alone out here gets hard when you’re missing cuts,” he said. “That’s where golf is really hard. The mental game can fall apart on you quick.”

For his efforts, Dou received $135,000, the trophy and, new this year, a pair of Adirondack chairs, fashioned from skis, featuring the Colorado and Wyoming State flags. With Dou living in Dallas, the price of shipping them will be a fraction of what it would have cost to send them to Zhengzhou or Beijing.

That was just another happy outcome for Tournament Director Drew Blass, who produced another highly successful tournament—the first of at least five with Ascendant Title as the title sponsor and Blue Credit Union as the presenting sponsor. A total of 613 volunteers from 16 states worked this year’s edition, and the spectators who packed the new additional viewing areas and suites showed great appreciation for the gracious champion.


Local Knowledge

Former CU star Jeremy Paul, who is from Germany and now lives in Scottsdale, started Sunday’s action three shots off the lead. He fired a 5-under 31 on the front nine, including an eagle on the 592-yard fifth. At 16-under going into the par-3 16th, Paul made his only bogey of the round. Playing two groups behind Paul, Dou birdied 16. The two-shot swing dropped Paul into a tie for third. Watch him split the fairway on his final tee shot.

Players with Colorado ties who made the cut included former AFA players Kyle Westmoreland (T23 at 9-under) and Tom Whitney (T64 at 2-under); former CSU stars Zahkai Brown (T67 at 1-under) and Jake Staiano (70 at even par).
2020 Inspirato Colorado Open Champion Mark Anguiano finished T44 at 5-under and his successor, Alex Weiss, missed the cut at 2-over. Also missing the 1-under cut were seven-time Colorado PGA Player of the Year Geoff Keffer (2-over), Loveland’s Dan Erickson (3-over), Colorado School of Mines alum George Markham (5-over) and Lyons resident Tyler McCumber, who withdrew after shooting a 6-over 78 in the first round.

Giving Back

Two days before the first players teed off, Ascendant National Title—the title sponsor, official title insurer of the PGA TOUR and Trustee of First Tee—hosted a First Tee Junior Clinic for 40 participants from the First Tee-Green Valley Ranch and First Tee-Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Following coach-guided putting, chipping, and driving activations, the juniors heard from Korn Ferry Tour player Taylor Montgomery, who also fielded their questions.

Taylor Montgomery enlightens First Tee participants

The event concluded with Ascendant presenting a $100,000 check to First Tee and $50,000 to each of the local chapters.

Cathy Wagner, VP of Advancement, and Nick Piechowski, director of Corporate partner relations, for the PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation.
First Tee-CRM Executive Director Paula Purifoy and Ken Manqueros , COO of Cypress Ascendant Holdings
First Tee-GVR CEO Kevin Laura and Director Zach Kinmartin flank Cypress Ascendant’s Ken Manqueros.

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