ZHANG STORMS TO VICTORY IN OMEGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Zhang Lianwei recorded a runaway seven-stroke victory in the US$100,000 Omega Championship today at Tianan Golf Club in Beijing.
The mainland's master of the fairways showed his vast experience by firing the lowest round in the tournament on the final day, a five-under-par 67 to finish on five-under 283.
Li Chao claimed second place after shooting a 71, while Taiwan's Wang Terchang finished one stroke further back in third.
Wang, a special invite along with compatriot Lu Wenteh, returned a 68 in the season ending event on the Omega China Tour.
Zhang had started the day three ahead of Li and never looked back after touring the front side in four-under-par 32, after birdies on the third, fourth, fifth and seventh.
The victory was the 42 year old's third of the season and has particular significance to him as Tianan is managed by Cheng Jun, his former World Cup team-mate and winner of the Volvo China O pen in 1997.
"I was disappointed to finish third here last year so I am so happy to do better this week especially with Cheng Jun here. We turned professional together and played in the 1995 World Cup. We have a lot of memories so this win gives me a special feeling," said Zhang, who won US$19,470.
The victory came a little too late for Zhang to win the Omega Order of Merit for the second year in a row. Li secured the Merit list title at the pen ultimate event in Xiamen.
"The victory may have looked easy but it wasn't. Even a three shot lead is not very much but thankfully I putted beautifully on the front nine. I didn't play in three events this year on the Omega China Tour due to other commitments so that probably cost me the Merit list," said Zhang.
"However, I am really happy for Li Chao. This Tour is really about the young players and it is good to see so many of them coming through. The game has developed so quickly since Cheng Jun and I started out," added Zhang.
Zhang has now claimed five titles on the Tour. He triumphed twice last year and this year won the Qingdao and Guangzhou legs.
He has now set his sights firmly on the Barclays Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club in two weeks time which boasts overall prize money of US$4million.
Li, who also claimed three titles this year, was magnanimous in defeat.
"Zhang was simply too good this week. He shot 69 and 67 at the weekend. He showed his class," said Li.