China’s Eastern Promise Continues To Shine

On the back of the Volvo China Open, and bolstered greatly by the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship, the talent that is emerging from all over the country is continuing to expand and make its mark throughout the game of golf.

Following in the footsteps of its early stars such as Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong, the explosion of golf throughout China is continuing at a pace. It is represented by several of the young golfers in the field this week, one of whom has already risen to be the number one golfer in his country and is still just 19 years old.

Li Hao-Tong won last year’s PGA Tour China Series’ Order of Merit, and this earned him his place on the Tour for 2015. From Shanghai, he led going into the final round of his first event and finally finished just outside the top 10 which gave him enough Official World Golf Ranking points to become the leading golfer in China. Just last week, in the Shenzhen International, he narrowly lost out in a play-off which meant he rose another 70 places. He is surely destined for great things and will be one to watch this week.

Jin Cheng claimed his place in this year’s Volvo China Open courtesy of victory in last autumn’s Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship. The 15 year-old won the final with a commanding performance over the 2012 champion Bai Zheng-kai. Based in Singapore, Jin had also made history earlier last year by becoming the first amateur to hold the lead at a PGA Tour China Series’ event.

Dou Ze-cheng is no stranger to this event having come through qualifying two years ago before finishing as the leading home-grown player, ahead of many established professionals. He qualified again last year having won the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship, and will be another to watch having recently turned Pro. There are also several young Chinese golfers who are here this week having come through one of the three qualifying events for home golfers.

Probably the biggest name amongst the Chinese amateurs, Guan Tian-lang, is also here this week. He held the record as the youngest-ever golfer on the European Tour when he was just 13 at the 2012 Volvo China Open. The following year he was the youngest-ever player to make the cut in the Masters.

China is full of the brightest young talent at the moment, and as they progress into adulthood and into the professional game, it cannot be long before we see more Chinese winners on Tour. With such a strong contingent here this week, it may well be very soon!

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