Chen’s Hopes Evaporate In The Heat


Chen Ze Shan Chuan’s hopes of defending his Volvo China Junior Match Play title were dashed when he was soundly beaten 6 and 4 by Dou Ze-Cheng in today’s quarter-finals. It was sweet revenge for Dou who lost to Chen in last year’s final. Under a cloudless sky and with temperatures hitting 30 degrees for the last few days, it has been as much a physical endurance test as one of golfing prowess for many of the players. While Chen didn’t blame the heat, his score seemed to indicate that, perhaps, mental fatigue had started to affect him.
“I found it hard to concentrate this morning,” he said. “There were lots of thoughts swirling around in my head whenever I played a shot. So the shots weren’t good and I had a succession of bogeys. It was disappointing as I thought I had found some good form after yesterday but it just seemed to evaporate today. I can accept that I lost to Dou but I just cannot accept that I lost by so much. It’s a pity as I would have loved to have made it back to the Volvo China Open.”

In contrast Dou was a model of consistency, doing nothing spectacular but making sure of pars so that Chen would have to birdie to win a hole. In fact by the end of the match, Dou was level par and his consistent ball striking qualities showed why he is currently the leading Chinese amateur golfer.      

In Girls Group A, top seed Gao Mei-qi of Shanghai staged an incredible comeback from four down with just seven holes to play to pip Sun Qian-ya, also of Shanghai, on the final green. Having uncharacteristically slumped to 9-over-par after 11 holes, she produced some outstanding golf, which included four birdies in a row, to turn the match round and stand one up on the 18th tee. While she bogeyed the final hole it was enough to see her through to the semi-final as Sun’s attempt at par just slid past the hole.
“I played really poorly on the front nine but still I found it hard to believe that I was four down after 11 holes,” said Gao. “I knew I should beat my opponent quite easily as she is the 12th seed but I knew I had to start sinking long putts to have any hope. My mum told me to just slow down and relax and then I started sinking some long putts. But it was still very nerve wracking when there were only a few holes left to play.”

Xu Guo-zhen, the Boys Group B top seed, had no such comeback and was well beaten 5 and 4 by fourth seed Zheng De-lin from Shanghai. Zheng had one of those days when all seemed to go right and with four birdies sprinkled through his round, he never let Xu into the match.
“Even though I was playing okay today, Zheng played even better,” said Xu. “His short game and putting was very good so I don’t feel too disappointed to have lost.”

Top seed in Girls Group B, Sui Xiang from Guangdong, continued her convincing march towards the title by overwhelming Jin Man also from Guangdong by six and four. She never gave her opponent a chance, playing some majestic golf and was three-under-par when the match finished.
“I was a bit nervous at the start as Jin Man is a tough opponent,” said Sui. “But when I got to two up after three holes, I started to relax and then my putts started going in. It would be great to win the Volvo title as I got to the final two years ago but missed out as I got beaten by Shi Yu-ting.”

Those who triumphed in this morning’s quarter-finals will have little time for rest and relaxation as the semi-finals this afternoon start just one hour after the finish of the morning matches. A huge amount is at stake in the Boys Group A Championship, as the winner will automatically earn a place alongside some of the world’s top golfers in next year’s Volvo China Open at Binhai Lake, Tianjin.

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