Dou’s Match Play Dream Ends In Despair

China’s top amateur golfer, 15 year old Dou Ze-cheng from Beijing, crashed out of the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship this afternoon, suffering a three and two defeat at the hands of local hope, Bai Zheng-kai. After coming off a morning high of inflicting defeat on defending champion Chen Ze Shan Chuan in the quarter-finals, all the indications were that the talented Dou would find the path to the title relatively easy, but the unpredictability of match play once more came into play.

With three bogeys on the outward nine, Dou never looked comfortable and found himself four down to an in-form Bai. When Bai birdied the 11th to go five up, Dou clearly found himself with a mountain to climb. However, with Bai conceding the 12th and Dou birdieing the 14th there seemed a glimmer of hope that he could stage a successful comeback. He then birdied the 15th only to see Bai match him, effectively shutting the door on a miracle comeback. With a half at the 16th, it was all over.

“I’m not sure that I really switched my mind from my quarter-final win over Chen Ze Shan Chuan,” said Dou. “I didn’t feel focused on the afternoon semi-final and it showed in my game. Also I changed my glove at the sixth and that didn’t feel right either. So I seemed to be fighting with myself for most of the match. Added to that, Bai played well and gave me very little opportunity to get back into the match. I’m really disappointed but it’s made me even more determined to win the Volvo Junior and I’ll certainly be back next year.”

Top Girls Group A seed, Gao Mei-qi, staged another turn-around, coming back from three down at the 10th to snatch a last gasp victory at the 20th hole over Zhu Kai-lin from Sichuan and so make it into the final. A steady even-par outward nine from Zhu opened up a three hole lead over an inconsistent Gao. However, as in the morning, the top seed rose to the challenge, playing more steadily and keeping the pressure on Zhu. It paid off as she won four of the next seven holes to stand one up on the 18th tee. But she faltered down the last with a bogey and had to endure a nerve-wracking two extra holes before overcoming Zhu.
“I left myself a lot of work to do just like this morning which is not something I want to keep happening,” said Gao. “I hurt my wrist and this affected the distance of my drives and made the match very difficult for me. But I also had some lucky holes and so I’ve got to be happy making it to the final. Tomorrow I play my good friend, Zhang Jie Na Lin, who I practice with a lot in the USA.”

With the strong top seed gone in the quarter-finals, it was all to play for in the Boys Group B semi-finals. Third seed Hu Dian-dian edged out other local hope Zhang Jun-bin in a very tight match that went all the way to the final green. It was even tighter between second and fourth seeds, Wang Dong-y and Zeng De-lin both from Shanghai, with the match going to the 19th hole before Wang triumphed.   

There was a shock exit in the Girls Group B semi-finals. Strong favourite Sui Xiang was narrowly beaten on the final hole by Guan Ru-qing of Guangdong. Guan will face Cai Dan-ting of Hainan in tomorrow’s final. While Cai comfortably won her semi-final match over Liu Si-yun, it was her hole-in-one at the par three 14th that was the greater talking point.

Tomorrow’s finals in the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship will tee off at 7.30 am and are due to finish about 1.30 pm. 

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