http://sports.sina.com.cn 2008年03月13日01:03  新浪体育

  A record field for an Omega China Tour event will compete in this week's US$100,000 Guangzhou Championship, starting on Thursday.

  A total of 129 players will compete in Guangzhou in the opening event of this year's Tour, which has a record 10 events and a total purse of US$1.1 million.

  Zhang Lianwei, who will be defending his Guangzhou Championship title at Dragon Lake Golf Club, said the increasing number of players reflected the growth of the circuit since its inception in 2005, when there were four tournaments.

  "When I first played on the Omega China Tour, the fields were made up of between 80 and 90 players," said Zhang, 42, who in 2004 became the first Chinese to play at the US Masters at Augusta.

  "It's great that we have a record field in Guangzhou. Overall the number of players and the standard has been increasing year by year."

  Zhang, who has won five Asian Tour events and played extensively in Europe, Japan and Canada, said that the burgeoning Chinese circuit was starting to reflect the more established Tours around the world.

  "The Omega China Tour is facing in the right direction and is increasingly embracing international standards in all aspects," he said. "However, the fields in international events generally range from 144 to 156 players, so we still have room to grow."

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