CHINA'S GOLFING DRAGONS FLY INTO GUANGZHOU
Fire is breathed into the life of the Omega China Tour this week at Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou and the two players who have been in scorching form so far this season, Wu Kangchun and Zhang Lianwei, head the field.
Both players have won once this year and are keen to add to that in what is the third event of the year on the eight-leg Tour.
Wu claimed the season-opening Sofitel Golf Championship in Nanjing, where Zhang finished second. In the next event in Qingdao, Zhang redeemed himself and won to move to the top of the Omega Order of Merit - the prestigious award he won last year.
A fifth place finish in Qingdao saw Wu move to second place on the Merit list to continue was is an excellent rookie season for the 25 year old.
Last week Wu’s golfing career took another wonderful turn when he was invited to play in the Open De Saint-Omer in France on the European Tour.
It was his first visit to Europe and he carded respectable rounds of 73 and 75 to miss the cut by three strokes.
“It was quite an experience, a whole new world. Everything was very special except of course the food. I couldn’t find a Chinese restaurant and ate a lot of bread,” said the man from Zhuhai.
Wu only turned professional this year after competing for China in the past two Asian Games. However, the signs were there that he would be a threat this year on Tour when he produced strong performances to make the cut in the Volvo China Open and Beijing Open on the Asian Tour.
“I was very impressed by the European Tour, in particular the standard of play and golf course but of course it was very nice to come home last night. The first thing I did when I got off the plane was have a big bowl of rice!” added Wu.
The Chinese golfer feels he has at least one more win in the bag this year on Tour.
“I still feel good about my game. The win in Nanjing has made me more confident and relaxed on the golf course. I should have finished off my round better in Qingdao as I was getting close to Zhang but dropped shots over the closing holes,” said Wu.
Zhang, who has spent the last 10 years traveling the globe, was easily able to relate to Wu’s first trip to Europe.
“It’s a lonely experience when you go there for the first time. I remember it well. You really need a team of people around you to help you, and make you feel comfortable before you can start to play well,”said Zhang.
Zhang leads the Merit list with earnings of US$31,500 from two events and is determined to defend the title.
“There are six more events remaining and I will tee off in each one to try and win them. That might be asking too much but that is the way I am approaching them so that I can win the Merit list again,” added Zhang.
“It’s a very physically demanding layout this week. A players’ conditioning is going to be very important and with it being so hot and humid you really need to be drinking a lot of water,” said the five-time winner on the Asian Tour.
It is the first time the Tour has visited Dragon Lake. The Club was opened three years ago and will host the golf competition in the 2010 Asian Games, which will he held in Guangzhou.