FINAL THREE PLACES FOR VOLVO CHINA OPEN DECIDED IN WINDY TIANJIN

Wang Dong-yu gave himself an early birthday present by finishing as joint winner of the Volvo China Open Tianjin Binhai Forest Qualifying event today.

Wang, who lives in Shanghai, will celebrate his 18th birthday next month, but before that he now has the amazing opportunity to play with the stars of the European Tour in the Volvo China Open, which will be played at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing in two weeks time.

Wang is just the seventh amateur golfer to win a Volvo China Open Qualifying event, and only the 19th to gain a place in the prestigious National Open via the qualifying system.

Three birdies on the front nine were cancelled out by a bogey and a potentially destructive double bogey on the par three eighth hole, however the teenager fought back bravely to shoot a four under par 32 on the back nine to seal the win and the all-important qualification to Beijing.

“I judged the wind much better today than I did yesterday,” said Wang, who won the Boy’s B group in the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship in 2012. “It was even more windy today than it was yesterday so it was a tough day out there.”

Wang found the green on the difficult par-five 17th hole with his second shot and two putted for a birdie four.

“My plan was to try to birdie the 17th and then make par on 18 today, but I ended up making birdie at both,” said Wang, whose father was caddying for him this week, and who helped guide him to a seven birdie round of 68 for a total of one under par 143 in the historic 50th staging of the Qualifying events.

The most satisfying birdie was on the par four 18th where I had 190-yards to the flag,” Wang added. “I hit a five-iron to three feet from where I made a closing birdie.

I was more at ease this week with my dad on the bag, as he gives me encouragement when I’m not playing well. I usually listen to his advice, but if we disagree about strategy I go with the shot that I think will work out best.

Last year I was a spectator at the Volvo China Open, and I saw Li Hao-tong win the title. I really hope I get drawn to play with him in the opening two rounds because the first time I played in a professional event I was drawn to play with him then too.

Overnight leader Chao Hai-meng seemed to have things under control on what turned out to be a much more windy day than the opening round, and he stood at two under par after completing nine holes.

He then dropped shots on the 10th and 14th holes to offer hope to the chasing pack, and he looked like giving up another shot when he missed the green with his approach on the 17th. The golfing gods were obviously on his side as he holed his chip shot from within the hazard for an unlikely birdie four.

Chao said after the round that he was confident throughout the two days as he had prepared well, and also commented that the professional way the event was staged added only to his sense of confidence.

The event team did a great job this week in organising the tournament,” said Chao, who is based in Beijing. “The Volvo China Open is a very well orgainsed event, but the qualifiers are also very well organised and run.

Chao ended with a level par round of 72 to also finish on one under 143.

Duan Chen-xiao, also from Beijing, was on the 18th tee when the final group were still on the ninth hole today, but with matching nines of 34 the 25-year-old shot an amazing round of 68 to earn the third and final qualifying spot on two over par 146 while almost half the field still had lots of golf to play.

I’m always confident about my iron play, but my putting often lets me down,” said Duan, who grew up in Canada. “Today my putting was good and I holed three birdies from more than 10 yards.

The 18th turned out to be the key hole for me today as I found a bunker off the tee but I hit my approach shot to about 12 feet of the flag to two putt for a satisfying par.

The 23rd staging of the Volvo China Open takes place from April 27th-30th at Topwin Golf and Country Club, Beijing. Volvo was the first western brand to engage with golf in China in 1995, and this will be Volvo's 86th tournament on the European Tour. The prize fund is RMB 20 million. The tournament is organized by the China Golf Association with Volvo Car Event Management as co-organizer and promoter, and is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.

(2017-04-12,Tianjin)

 

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