Contemplated giving up the sport after failing to make a single halfway cut in the first nine months of last year and saw his world ranking crash from a high of 32nd in 2018 to outside the top 450.
But this June had an outpouring of emotion on beating Thomas Pieters with a 45-foot birdie putt in a play-off for the BMW International Open - and there was the added bonus of a place back in The Open off the circuit’s rankings on that very day.
Had a debut to remember at Royal Birkdale in 2017 when he took third place – easily the best major performance by a male Chinese golfer – after a closing 63 which would have equalled the major record but for the fact that Branden Grace scored the sport’s first 62 the previous day.
His first appearance in any of the four majors had come only a month before at the U.S Open. Maiden DP World Tour success came aged 20 at the 2016 Volvo China Open with a last-day 64, then in 2018 he beat Rory McIlroy head-to-head at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and lost a play-off to Justin Rose at the Turkish Airlines Open.