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Thaworn powers Nissan field on China Tour

http://sports.sina.com.cn  2009年06月16日17:48  新浪体育

  新浪体育讯 June 16, 2009: Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant will make his Omega China Tour debut at this week’s inaugural RMB700,000 Dongfeng Nissan Teana Open, the fourth event on this year’s Omega China Tour。

  Thaworn, the first player to win 10 titles on the Asian Tour, is one of five Mercedes-Benz Tour invites along with compatriots Wisut Artjanawat and Pariya Junhasavasdikul, and Singaporeans Goh Kun Yang and Choo Tze Huang。

  Thaworn, 42, is one of the pre-tournament favourites at the Anji King Valley Country Club and high on confidence after winning last week’s US$50,000 Heritage Melaka Classic on the Mercedes-Benz Tour by holing a 25-foot par putt on the final hole. 

  “I’m really happy to be on the Omega China Tour. Lu Wen-teh, who’s also playing here, and Wu Ashun both told me about the Tour and that I should play on it if it doesn’t clash with other events,” said the short-game wizard, who has won almost US$2.3 million on the Asian Tour and topped the Order of Merit in 2005。

  “I would love to win, but I’ve only played nine holes today (Tuesday), so I don’t know about my chances. I’m not a long hitter but I think the main challenge this week will be the greens, as they have a lot of slopes. They’re very tricky。”

  Lu Wen-teh, a five-time Asian Tour winner, is playing in his fourth successive Omega China Tour event as a Chinese Taipei invite. Lu became the Tour’s first non-mainland champion when he won in Kunming last year and is also in form after finishing third in last week’s Luxehills Golf Championship in Chengdu。

  Wisut and Pariya, also Asian Tour players, are both competing on the Omega China Tour for the second time. Both made their debut at the Sofitel Zhongshan IGC Open in Nanjing in April, when Wisut finished runner-up to Kurt Barnes, who became the circuit’s first Australian champion。

  The big-hitting Barnes is among the field’s nine-strong contingent from the PGA Tour of Australasia, which almost produced another winner in Chengdu last week, when Rowan Beste lost to Chen Jian in a play-off。

  Chen is the Tour’s surprise new star after his spectacular play-off victory at Luxehills, where the 34-year-old Kunming-based teaching pro amazed his rivals and onlookers by keeping his game and mind together under immense pressure。

  Chen, whose only previous top-10 finish on the Omega China Tour was in 2005, will be under the spotlight in Zhejiang this week. Other mainland hopes include Omega Order of Merit winner Liao Guiming, Dell Championship winner Wu Weihuang and eight-time winner Li Chao。

  China’s ‘third generation’ could also cause a stir in Zhejiang, with US college players Hu Mu and Han Ren and Canadian-educated rookie pro Su Dong all competing in the same Tour event for the first time. The young trio are all linked by their North American education。

  Hu, 19, is back on the Omega China Tour for the first time since competing in last season’s first three events, which included a fifth-place finish in Xiamen, while Han, 20, is playing his third event this year. Su, 19, had three top-three finishes in six events last season as an amateur, but has yet to rediscover that form since turning pro。

  American C.J. Gatto, joint-fourth at the season-opening Dell Championship in Xiamen, and 18-year-old Korean Tour player Eom Jae-woong, sixth in Xiamen and Nanjing, are among the China-based foreigners from Qualifying School。


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