MIXED FORTUNES FOR TOP SEEDS AT VOLVO CHINA JUNIOR MATCH PLAY

Fujian (CHINA): There were mixed fortunes for top seeds Lin Jia-hao and Sun Jia-ze on day one of the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship at the Southern Wood Golf & Country Club in Fujian today (Monday).

Despite an opening win in the round of 16, Guangdong's 17-year-old Lin saw his hopes of a place in the 2019 Volvo China Open crushed by number nine seed Wang Xin-xing from Shandong who edged their thrilling quarter final clash (2 up).

"I'm pretty tired after that as Lin is a very tough player," said Wang, who finished seventh in the event 12 months ago and who qualified for the Chinese national team earlier this year. "We were level up until the last two holes and I perhaps got a bit of luck at the end."

It was a different story in the girls' division where number one seed Sun stayed on course to reach the final thanks to wins over Shanghai's Xu Yi-yang (1 up) and Fujian's number nine seed Liu Ao-li 6&4.

Sun, the 17-year-old top seed from Tianjin, will now meet 15-year-old number four seed Yang Jie-ming in the girls' semi-finals, while the other semi will see 17-year-old number two seed Fang Xin-yuan play number 14 seed Fan Shuang-shuang, still just 13 years old, for a place in Wednesday's final.

"The fairways are narrow so you need to be accurate with your ball striking," said Sun, who is making her fourth consecutive appearance in the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship and who finished fourth in 2016.

"But I'm hitting the ball well and my strategy is good. I'm looking forward to the semi-final as I know Yang's style well and know she is a very tough player. I know I need to be focused to beat her tomorrow."

With China's number one ranked junior player and tournament favourite out of the boy's event, the rest of the field will fancy their chances of lifting the title and with it a chance to play in next year's European Tour-sanctioned Volvo China Open, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Chengdu in May.

The highest ranked player left in the field, 14-year-old Kuang Yang from Guangdong is in blistering form having won his opening two matches by scores of 6&4 and 7&5. But the number four seed will face a buoyant Wang Xin-xing at the semi-final stage following Wang's stunning victory over Lin on the opening day.

"If I can win this event it will be a big step forward," said Wang, "but Kuang is a powerful competitor and it will be a major challenge for me so I will need to be at my best."

In the other boys' semi-final, 14-year-old number seven seed Zhang Zhong-yu from Yunnan will face 13-year-old number six seed Wu Dian-chao from Guangdong.

In all some 32 players - 16 boys and 16 girls – are competing over the three days with the winner of the boys’ title securing a place in the 2019 Volvo China Open – sanctioned by The European Tour– while the girls’ champion will play in the Volvo China Open Pro-Am.

(2018-12-10)

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