Li Chao resumes his bid to win his third Omega Order of Merit title in four seasons when he competes in next week’s RMB800,000 Tianjin Championship, the penultimate event of this year’s Omega China Tour.
Liao Guiming, the current Omega Order of Merit leader, and Chinese Taipei invites Hsu Mong-nan and Chan Yih-shin are also among the favourites for the Tour’s first-ever appearance in Tianjin, the coastal city southeast of Beijing.
Earlier this month, Li missed the Tour’s most recent event, the Luxehills Golf Championship in Chengdu, in order to compete in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland, where he missed the cut by one stroke in his first European Tour event in Europe.
The Beijing-born 28-year-old is third in the Omega Order of Merit with RMB200,750 following a season in which he has won the Dell Championship in Xiamen and twice finished fourth.
With Li away, Liao Guiming made good use of his absence to bank RMB90,000 for finishing runner-up to Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Chi-huang at Luxehills.
Liao’s latest paycheque took his season earnings to RMB349,450 and helped him overtake Zhang Lianwei, who has RMB330,000, at the top of the Omega Order of Merit and further distance himself from Li, who won the Merit crown in 2005 and 2007.
Zhang, the 2006 winner, was also competing in Switzerland, where the 43-year-old finished tied 44th.