LI SEEKS TO SEAL FINE SEASON AT OMEGA CHAMPION
China’s Li Chao took the first round lead in the Omega Championship at Tianan Golf Club today in Beijing hoping to add the finishing touch to a stellar season.
He has already secured the Omega Order of Merit title and in what is the final event of the season he fired a three-under-par 69 to once again assert his authority on the Omega China Tour.
He leads by a stroke from Zhang Lianwei and Fan Zhipeng, who carded 70s.
“I feel in great shape and have spent the last few weeks in Guangzhou practicing. I am from Beijing but it has been a bit too cold here, so I headed south for a while,” said Li.
The 27 year old, who also claimed the Merit list during the Tour’s inaugural year in 2005, has already triumphed in three events this year.
He won the Yanji Golf Championship plus the Xiamen and Shanghai Legs of the circuit, which boasts eight events.
“I have totally devoted my time to the Omega China Tour this year and it has really paid off. Next year I will start thinking more about the Asian and Japan Tours,” added Li.
The rising Chinese star joked that he has added pressure this week because his mother is watching.
“Every time I play in Beijing my mum comes and watches. She watches me play all 18 holes every day!” added Li, who had a great finish with birdies on 16 and 18.
Li carded an eagle, two birdies and a bogey in the US$100,000 event. He leads the Merit list with earnings of RMB562,125.
Zhang, who won the Merit list last year and is second place this season, rallied with a back nine of three-under-par 33 with birdies on 10, 13 and 16.
“It was quite cold so it took me some time to get going. I would certainly like to win this week, even though Li has already claimed the number one spot,” said Zhang, who has won two titles this year. Qiu Zhifeng lies a stroke further back.
The Taiwanese due of Wang Terchang and Lu Wenteh, special invites, shot rounds of 72 and 74.